As the Olympics approach I am reminded that it was this time four years ago that my book 6 Radical Decisions was launched in London.
The book was really an attempt to name what I was committed to after a few very disorientating years of trying to help Fusion hold together after my Dad, the founder, stepped down from leadership.
While I didn’t know that this would be my last time working as a Fusion leader, there was a deep grief that pervaded the background of my experience of 2012. It was increasingly becoming clear to Leeanne and I, that in order for Fusion to move forward, the son of the founder needed to step away from the organization.
For two decades I had felt as though I was doing something very important, shoulder to shoulder with people I loved. I believed in what I understood Fusion to be about and now, as I worked with these people one last time, I sensed that I was in a process of letting go.
The 18 months of conceiving, writing, editing, re-writing, re-editing and finally proofing the book had been important for me. As I was increasingly finding myself moving to the outside of Fusion, I found my commitment to the core things that originally drove Fusion unshaken. The book was my attempt to name those core things.
As I reviewed my past 20 years I saw that there were themes. There had been times when I saw God move and the world change, and there were times that felt purposeless and ineffective.
I had always enjoyed reading, and over the 20 years had read a number of biographies of Christians who had had significant impact. The stories of people like John Wesley, Loren Cunningham, Keith Green, William Booth, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, Sadhu Sundar Singh, Count Zinzendorf, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, Basil of Cappadocia, Columba, St. Patrick and C.S. Lewis had all had a lasting impact on me. I noticed that in their lives too, there was a pattern. There were themes in the moments of success and the moments of struggle.
This personal crisis that forced me to be asking questions about who I was and what I believed, helped me start to see a correlation between my own experience in Fusion, the experience of these heroes of the faith, and what I was reading in the bible.
There were six common ingredients, whenever I was most free and seeing God clearly work, when those who I read about were used to change the world, and that the Bible seemed to keep coming back to. Those six ingredients were actually decisions that weren’ at all complicated but they changed everything. That’s why I called them Radical Decisions.
- Jesus was First: In my own life, and whenever the church was at its best, the carpenter that walked the sea of Galilee wasn’t an idea or distant abstraction, Jesus was a person, with whom I, and lots of others, have a personal relationship that changes everything. Whenever the church is at its best, Jesus is the center of everything.
- As they encountered Jesus, people found a mission: As I let my relationship with Jesus impact me, I find myself called to seek first His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. While I personally was having an identity crisis, I was discovering that my mission wasn’t tied to an organization but to who Jesus is. Whenever the church is at its best, we all have a mission.
- As they stepped into the missional purpose of their lives, Fellowship became essential: What I had valued most in my time with Fusion was the sense of shoulder-to-shoulder fellowship with brothers and sisters who share the same mission. As I read the bible and reflected on the history of the church I discovered that this kind of fellowship is actually meant to be normal. Sadly what is “normal” in the Christian church is rapidly increasing levels of social isolation. When the church is at its best it is best described as a family.
- As they found fellowship, that fellowship opened itself to this from the “outside” in radical hospitality: From Acts 2 onwards, people outside church have been attracted to it, and people inside the church have maintained the kind of space in their hearts that welcomes the stranger. When the church is at its best strangers become neighbours.
- As they engaged with people who were different to them, they created space for the unique gift that each person brought: There is a natural human tendency to become self Centered, however wherever the kingdom is breaking out, people spend their time, talents and money to create platforms for other people. Whenever the church is at its best, everyone who engages with it is empowered to more fully be themselves.
- They didn’t give up when things got tough: One of the things that struck me about the most honest of the biographies that I read was that everyone goest through moments when everything in them wants to give up. Committment, and not necessarily radical new ideas, is what actually changes the world. Whenever the church is at its best, it is full of people who hold on to Jeusus, their mission, fellowship, hospitality and a commitment to empower others, through the ups and downs of real life.
These six things became my points of orientation at a stage in my life when everything was changing. I knew I wanted those six things to be true of me, and I wanted to be the kind of person who helped others live like this.
As I stood in the Oxford coffee shop surrounded by friends and people who had come to the launch of the book, I had no idea what was ahead of me.
It was only a couple of days before the launch that I had sat down with the coordinator of Fusion Canada who had made it clear that they were very serious about the possibility of bringing my family to Canada. Leeanne and I were orientating to what that might mean.
I had no idea that only twelve months later I would be handing the book across a boardroom table to three guys who were interviewing me for a Pastoral position at St. Albert Alliance church.
As I handed the book to Jeremy, Nathan and Matt I remember saying, “If it is right for me to come here, this is the direction I would be wanting us to head.” The book was continuing to help me find my bearings as I prepared to work in a church.
The book has now had three print runs and it has been gratifying to hear from people around the world how it has helped them.
Sure, there are a few things about the book I would refine, but I am still convinced that those 6 Radical Decisions are the key to the health of the church, the key to my health as a human being and the points of orientation I will continue to build my life toward.
This website was created around the same time the book was launched. The intent of this site is to be a kind of repository for the conversation sparked by the book.
You will find a number of different articles here, but at the four year anniversary point it seemed like an opportune moment to take a moment to take stock.
Over the next couple of weeks I thought I might reflect on what I have learned as we tried to build 6 Radical Decisions into the D.N.A. of a church.