A longtime reader of CHRISTIAN STANDARD paid us a wonderful compliment earlier this year.
“Thank you for giving us a magazine that makes us think,” he said.
This likely would have seemed a small achievement just a generation or two ago. There was a day when many in the Christian churches and churches of Christ spent more energy defining orthodoxy than questioning tradition.
But fresh winds are blowing today—new churches, growing congregations, multisites and multimedia and external focus—all of it energized by a crop of younger leaders sold out to finding new ways to evangelize.
“It’s true this crowd isn’t interested in our recent history,” said Brian Mavis, creator of our new feature, Stake. “But they do care about our founding values” even though “they aren’t for or against an idea just because it did or did not come from our heritage.”
This group, a larger group than some of us realize, is not going to stick with the fellowship of Christian churches and churches of Christ just because their parents did. And their fresh ways of seeing and saying things sometimes create separations between them and the movement that gave them birth. As Brian sees it, both younger and older leaders may feel alienated; the old may see the young as unappreciative, while the young feel pressure to “get in line.”
As we reported in our introductory installment of Stake, February 6, many of them are viewing the Restoration Movement in general and CHRISTIAN STANDARD in particular as irrelevant. And as we indicated that week, our goal with Stake is to re-engage these leaders, to listen to them, and to allow them to express ideas unlike those we might expect in Christian Standard. By welcoming differing viewpoints, we encourage a culture that allows everyone’s ideas to be refined.
The tagline for Stake is “challenging Christian risk-takers,” and perhaps no one is taking a greater risk with Stake than CHRISTIAN STANDARD itself. We risk implying that we’re endorsing an idea just by reporting that someone expressed it. We risk driving away some longtime readers by seeking dialogue with younger leaders.
But Christian Standard’s mission is to serve this whole fellowship and to help its various factions and tribes connect with each other for the sake of penetrating our culture with the gospel. Many of those we’re reaching out to with Stake will shape the future of our movement. It seems to us there’s greater risk in ignoring them than in allowing them now and then to say things we can’t quite swallow.
In the process, we hope to achieve a goal for every reader—longtime and new—that one admirer says we’re already accomplishing. We hope to make you think.