By Jeff Goins, Editor
Wrecked recently interview Tom Sine, author of The New Conspirators, a book about the things God is doing through a new generation of innovators, risk takers and entrepreneurs. Be sure to visit the links at the end of the interview to read more about The New Conspirators and order a copy of the book for yourself!
Wrecked: What is a new conspirator?
Tom: The bad news is that we are losing 20 and 30 year olds from our churches at a rate we have we haven’t seen before. The good news is that God is conspiring through a new generation of innovators and risk-takers to create new expressions of community, church, mission and celebration that all of us can join. These new conspirators are challenging us all to raise the bar and embrace a more authentic whole-life faith and create more missional churches to discover the creative ways God can use our mustard seeds to make a difference in these turbulent times.
Wrecked: How have you seen followers of Christ living creatively to engage their world?
Tom: I find there are at least four streams of these new conspirators: emerging, missional, mosaic or multicultural church planters, and the new monastics. I am impressed by their commitment and creativity. I saw 25 young men who were a part of an emerging church plant in the UK called Warehouse covenanted together to not work more than 30 hours a week for money to free-up 20 hours a week to work with at-risk kids on the streets of their community. Andrea moved into a new monastic community in Camden New Jersey and went to work in a Catholic school teaching kids to do urban agriculture in one of the poorest cities in America. There are a large number of young risk-takers in this generation who are no longer content to simply get a comfortable job and go to a church where it is all about the needs of people inside the building.
Wrecked: Can you give us an idea of a church that is seeking to embody this new conspiracy and how are they seeking to live more missionally?
Tom: Three years ago Tim Morey and his friends planted a new missional church in Torrance California called New Life Covenant Church. They have grown to about 200 people. What sets them apart from more conventional church plants is their focus is not on the needs of people in their congregation. They meet for weekly worship in a rented space and the only other time they meet is in small groups. The focus of the small groups is primarily to engage the needs of their neighbors…during this lingering recession. These small groups help people reach out to address needs in their community and the larger world. Virtually everyone is involved in both a small group and reaching out to neighbors on a regular basis. They have planted three other churches, they fund micro-enterprise projects in Africa, and 30% of their budget is invested in local and global mission. Clearly, given the growing needs in our communities and our world we will need many more new plants like New Life that put mission at the center of their common life.
Wrecked: The sub title of your book The New Conspirators is “Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time”- what do you mean by “mustard seed” in this context?
Tom: Jesus let us in on a secret: God is always at work in the world through the small, the insignificant and the ordinary. I suspect that few leaders in our established church ever expected God to start new initiatives through the young and untested. I find that it still hasn’t occurred to most older leaders that they could actually learn something from these new conspirators.
When I speak to 40+ leaders in our churches I find it has never occurred to most of them to sit down with their teens, 20 and 30-somethings and invite them to re-imagine and re-invent our churches to become more outward-focused in mission. What would happen if we joined these young risk-takers and invited God to more fully use our mustard seeds to have reach out to those in need?
Wrecked: What are some examples of acts of faith making a large difference in the world?
Tom: A few years ago a missional church plant in the UK called Raynes Park started holding banquets for aids orphans in Africa where they didn’t ask for money. Instead they gave those who came to these banquets $15 each from the personal savings of families in this church. They challenged people to invest this money and send the results of the way that God prospers them. They raised hundreds of thousands of pounds and started Hope HIV to train up AIDs Orphans to be a new generation of leaders in Africa. These young leaders were astonished at how God could use their mustard seed to impact the lives of kids half a world away.
Wrecked: How does one become a new conspirator?
Tom: To join these new conspirators is not terribly difficult. It simply means following Jesus by making God’s mission purposes our purposes. It starts by inviting God stir your imagination and discovering creative, new ways God can use our mustard seeds to make a little difference in our troubled world.
Wrecked: How can we find out more about The New Conspirators?
Tom: You can read more about the book at www.thenewconspirators.com. You can read more about those joining the conspiracy or order the book at www.msainfo.org. We are interested in hearing the creative ways God is using your mustard seeds to be a difference and make a difference.
Jeff graduated from Illinois College, a small liberal arts school, with a degree in Spanish and Religion. He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife Ashley. He works for Adventures in Missions, edits this silly little magazine, and loves to do new things. Check out his blog: Pilgrimage of the Heart.