A number of years back a group of women from my church started attending the Colour conference run by Hillsong. Every year most of them come back with a bigger vision of who God created them to be and a determination to be those women.
While those of us outside Hillsong often stand back and take potshots at its theological and ecclesiological weaknesses – and like every church there are many – we easily miss the fact that the church has really understood how to proclaim the good news about Jesus to suburbanites. The bulk of the Australian population live in the suburbs, where the dominant approach to life is aspirational. I was reminded of this during a very helpful discussion earlier this week with one of Australia’s leading missiologists. Suburbanites tend not to think of themselves as broken and in need of fixing, but as competent and wanting to get as much from life as possible.
Yet on the rare occasion they show up to church we try to convince them they are broken and in need of fixing, and unsurprisingly, the message is rejected. But what if we told the gospel story in a way that spoke to their aspiration? What if we spoke of the amazing, world changing people God created them to be? That God wants to help them become the very best version of themselves they can be, and use them to create the very best communities and world that can be? That the risen Christ shows us the way to this, exposing the failure of consumerism and hedonism and individualism and all other isms to deliver what we really want, and points us to a far superior way?
Would this not be a positive, powerful presentation of the good news?