Reversing Polarity and the Future of the Western Church

There is a phenomenon known as Geomagnetic Reversal (you can read more about it here).  In this natural and ongoing phenomenon, the earth’s polarity is reversed every several hundred thousands years.  Although there are scientific disagreements as to the effectual magnitude of these reversals, there is no question that it has effects.   Whatever the specific case and effects of Geomagnetic Reversal, it is a naturally occurring phenomenon that takes something we rely upon for navigation and direction, and reverses it.

I would like to suggest that we are on the verge of a polarity reversal in the global Church as we face a massive shift in the power and density of the Christian witness.  Over the last several hundred years, the Church was been strongest in the West and the West has been, largely, the leader of global mission (in good and bad ways) for the spreading of the Gospel to Asia, Africa, etc. This polarity is now rapidly reversing.

As the Church in the West faces the reality of post-Christendom in our post-colonial and post-modern world, it must face its future and its future will look radically different than its past.  As the western church moves into its future, the quality it will need most is humility.  For the sake of the Gospel, it must be willing to ask and accept help.  As long time help givers, resource providers and power holders, this will be incredibly difficult.

The Christian world is shifting and the global shape of Christianity is reversing polarity.  Just as it does in nature, this shift will occur over time and will involve confusion as old paradigms breakdown and effectiveness of current models wane.  In the midst of the shifting, will the western church be willing to, in humility, accept help from other parts of the world?  Will it be willing to have groups from Latin America or Africa come and do Vacation Bible Schools (Children’s ministries) for us, help with Church renovation projects that need to be done but can’t for lack of resources, host groups to do evangelism in our communities, etc.  Basically, will it be willing to reverse our view of missions and accept help from others with the same enthusiasm as it has given it in the past.

The fact is, the poles are shifting, it is undeniably happening; ignorance is not bliss, nor is arrogance acceptable.  The question we must ask ourselves is: As we move through this polar reversal in the church, will we be able to, in humility, accept help as willingly as we have offered it?

I am not sure how I will enter this new emerging, reverse polarity world, but I hope I enter it full of humility and fully ready to engage with what God is doing and wants to do in our Global world.

Will we, in humility, open the door to those whose feet are beautiful with the Good News (Isaiah 52:7)?  Or, will we close the door in arrogance and pride?  I hope and pray, we will be willing do the former and be a global Church filled with beautiful feet!

Leave a Reply