At Exponential 2011, Michael Frost was by far the highlight for me, and this year was no different! Coming from Australia, Frost’s context has some obvious parallels to post-Christendom Canada. It’s entertaining to listen as Frost describes the missional context I know and love, and to watch the shocked faces of his American audience. He speaks to them, and us, prophetically.
I heard Frost at a special event hosted at the House of Blues by the Newthing network, but he spoke again at the conference’s last main session. Both were, to be honest, a cathartic experience, as he simply told the stories of Jesus. He is a gripping, engaging storyteller.
At the evening Newthing event, he spoke about how Christianity in America has really been reduced to clichés – “Jesus died for your sins.” The statement is true, but meaningless or tuned out by those who’ve heard the same line over and over again, and there is a wealth of material in scripture that we should use. He encouraged us to retell the stories of Jesus – and so he told the story of Jesus encountering a Samaritan woman at a well in a way that inspired and challenged.
At his main session, he shared the story of celtic monks by contrasting their cloistered life in a cell, and their being sent out as missionaries in tiny boats called coracles. There were aspects of their ministry that were both gathered and scattered, inward and outward, discipline and action, sifted and sent. He noted that this way of life is found through a few scripture passages, but I particularly saw it expressed in 1 Peter and James 1:27. I thought this image of the cell and coracle was a great framework for thinking about the connection between discipleship and mission.