The fourth chapter of Real-Time Connections by Bob Roberts Jr. focuses on “Linking to the World.”
The first several chapters laid out his vision – that we would make disciples not through increased ‘church-based’ activity, but by being obedient in our every day lives.
Robert’s does have a disadvantage in writing about how to get Christians to engage in the world through their daily work. After all, he is a professional pastor paid to minister, so how can he possibly relate? What does he know about my cubicle? What does he know about my workplace struggles? What can he say to me?
That being said, he gets it. He’s not all about building another church-based ministry. He engages in unleashing his church for the kingdom through their daily pursuits. In previous chapters he lit the fire under lay leaders, encouraging them not just to spread the Kingdom through church activity, but through the influence in their individuals vocations.
In “Linking to the World,” Robert’s points out the obvious global shift we have had. All of the information is flattened thanks to television, telephones and international travel. Tribes and cultures are now dispersed across the planet and the enclaves we once thought safe are now in the great big mixing bowl of planet Earth.
He tries to boil down the concept to three poorly named and difficult to understand realities.
- Decentralized connectedness
- Nodal networks
- Post Americanism
However, once you get past the head scratcher titles and unpeel the material, you begin to understand what he’s saying. Mission work is no longer America sending out missionaries. In fact, the world is connected to each other through a thousand different connections and if we are to reach the world, we need to empower those connections.
The nodal networks are the places where those connections intersect. The mechanic buys his groceries from the same store as the lawyer. The lawyer hires the roofer who also shops at the same store. Their node is the grocer, who can influence and change lives. “Our lives as individuals exist at a point where multiple lines of relationship and influence intersect, lines that connect with hundreds of other nodes,” he writes.
There is recognition of the breakdown in the traditions, denominations and centralized way of delivering the gospel. “There will always be centralized authorities,” Roberts writes, “but they will not be like the highly structured, and authoratitve organizatons of the past.”
The church unleashed isn’t a new principle, but it is exciting to see a pastor who writes about his church members changing the world without everything rolling through the church structure.
He calls the church a “grass roots” effort.
He writes, “Each one of has the ability to do something truly significant with what God has given us if we will just step out.”
So, how about it? Will you step out?