“Lost in Translation” Blog Series Summary

“Lost In Translation”

Using Paul’s engagement with the Athenians in Acts 17 as a backdrop, we are reflecting on the many gaps, disconnections, and misalignments we see across the landscape of ministry, along with some hopeful and constructive suggestions for how to respond faithfully.

Divergent Boundaries and Ministry in the Rift Valley

“Earthquakes. Volcanoes. Often these are the sites of ‘divergent boundaries,’ the space created by tectonic plates that move away from each other. With all the talk of massive ‘shifts’ in ministry and culture in recent years, we would do well to name what ‘tectonic plates’ have been moving away from each other, and what the divergent boundary might look like.”
—Adam Borneman


Failures, Flubs, Fumbles & Foibles. What is Missing in Our Messages?  

“More than once have I sat in a service with my head bowed praying for the preacher to tune into Spirit and to really connect with the people. More than once have I internally groaned as I watched a colleague labor to deliver the wrong message, at the wrong time, to the wrong audience. More than once, have I jettisoned my notes when I discerned that my carefully crafted sermon was missing wide and to the right! Even now, I can hear one of the mothers of the church praying loudly, ‘Help him, Lord!’”

—Adam Mixon


The Messy Makings of Discipleship

“We were created for a relationship with one another and with God. True discipleship requires relationship with Jesus Christ, and we as people of faith can no longer opt out of public discourse because of outdated social mores, or intolerance for the messiness that is our world. When we opt out of the conversation, we make room for other voices, beliefs, and ideals to take root in the hearts and minds of those we are called to serve.”

—Jennifer Watley Maxell


Good News to the Poor

“What if we actually started preaching a gospel that contained good news for the poor? What if we took what the Bible has to say about economics and poverty as seriously as we do what the Bible has to say about justification, baptism, heaven, and prayer? What if we started talking about the fact that Jesus himself was poor and likely homeless? … Where might this lead us in terms of our sense of calling and connection to our community?”
—Ryan Bonfiglio


Spiritual Generativity is Not Dead…

“The truth is this generation may be influencing the older generations in a positive and hopeful kind of way. We already look to these digital natives to fix our computers, iPhones, and apps when we can’t figure it out. We rely on their tech savviness and cultural awareness to teach us what’s the latest language, emojis and acronyms that are beyond our understanding. Why would it be so difficult to let them teach us about spirituality and God, too?”

—Amy Valdez Barker


We All Need Something More

“If the structure and function of our churches merely reflect the culture of productivity, busyness, and accomplishment, then we should expect to see an uninspired laity and burned-out clergy. For too long we have existed with a marketplace mindset… If we continue to play this game, we will continue to struggle to ‘compete’ in society. The good news is that everyone wants and needs a better way.”

—Beth McMullen Daniel



We are experiencing a season of deflation. This is not an insight about the current global economy from the likes of Christine Lagarde, Janet Yellen, or Paul Krugman. This is a comment about the deflating impact of culture on the gospel message, along with weariness, stress, and our individual and corporate doubts about the power of God in a world like ours.”

—Mark Ramsey

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