"It's not about you." Those are the first four words in a book you may have heard about—The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren. While that sentence alone is a much needed tonic for a culture that's become increasingly me-centered, it also has come to describe the ministry vision of Warren himself.
He readily admits he's had to change his assumptions about doing mission in the world. He no longer promotes his "church in a box" concept. He's learning from his mistakes, because mission is not about him, or even his ideas.
The future of the church, he now suggests, lies in its latent power as a global network. And he's not afraid to lift up that network, even if it means directing influence away from himself. During a recent meeting with 250 international church leaders, Warren told them, "you must increase, and we must decrease, because networks are poly centric."
"We don't want to be the Vatican," Warren insisted. "I couldn't care less if anybody uses the term purpose driven. All I care about is shooting the DNA of the five purposes into the body of Christ so that every cell, every church, and every life is doing Worship, fellowship, discipling, ministering, and evangelizing."
Christian Vision Project editorial director Andy Crouch met with Warren at the triennial Urbana missions conference to talk about these and other changes affecting the global church.
What do we need to learn in order to participate in what God is doing in the world?
First is humility. The focus of world Christianity going forward is not going to be centered in North America. The centers of power are going to be Africa, South America, and Asia—not ...