Does your faith have a crumple zone?

There was a time when cars were build with rigid chassis which ran from one end to the other, with the bumper fitted on either end. The logic of this was that, if the car crashed into anything, surely it would make sense to build the car as strong as possible, so that it would protect the passengers from the impact. It turned out that this logic was exactly the wrong way to go about it. With a rigid chassis, all the shock from the impact is transmitted to the whole car, causing serious injuries to the occupants.

It was realised quite early on that this was not the best way to build cars—but it took decades before change came. The idea of the crumple zone was first conceived and patented by an Austro-Hungarian engineer Béla Barényi (the ‘father of modern car safety’) in 1937, but it didn’t find its way into car design until 1959, and only became widespread in the 1970s and 80s. The idea is the opposite of the chassis; instead of having a rigid frame from one end to another, you actually create soft and flexible zones of the car at the front and rear (and possibly even on the sides), and in a crash these collapse, absorbing the energy of the impact. Meanwhile the passengers are kept safe in a rigid cell in the middle of the car; not only is this strong enough to protect them, it is at some distance from the point of impact, so that the energy has been dissipated and the passengers are saved from the shock of the impact.

What has all this got to do with the Christian life and discipleship?

I thought about crumple zones after reading this honest and moving article written by Laura Turner, John Ortberg’s daughter, as she reflected on why she and her contemporaries who has been raised and nurtured in the Chicago mega-church Willow Creek ended up in such different places.

In high school, my friends and I were inseparable. We grew up in the same church with the same faith. How did we all drift so far apart?

But it is not just here that Turner’s experience was slightly detached from aspects of real life. She describes Willow Creek in these terms:

At Willow Creek, a mile-long driveway wound around a manmade lake where believers got baptized in the summer months, and in the spring it was littered with Canadian geese and their goslings. The parking lots were so big that I learned to drive there, on uninterrupted swaths of flat Midwestern bog.

This is not the experience of your average church in the UK, or even in the States! When we attended one of the first Willow Creek conferences where Bill Hybels was speaking in 1994, he mentioned in passing that he had a 60-foot yacht on Lake Michigan which he sailed with friends on a Saturday. It was true that this was comparatively modest for a megachurch pastor—but it felt a little removed for most of us in Anglican ministry!

Our teaching, in every area of life, needs to be tested from the beginning with the realities of life—and that is why experience in a different cultural context is often key to the growing of mature faith. Will what I have learnt in one context stand up to scrutiny in quite a different context?

2. Focus on the ‘why’ not just on the ‘what’

In the ministry of both Jesus and Paul, there is a consistent emphasis on understanding things, and not just doing what they are told. When Jesus saw the crowds, he ‘had compassion on them—so he taught them’ (Mark 6.34). Jesus did, of course, respond to the crowds in compassion by healing them and feeding them—but his compassion stirred by their lostness also meant that he healed and fed their understanding by teaching them about the kingdom of God.

This emphasis on understanding is also found all through Paul’s writings. Although he begins his first letter to the Corinthians by rejecting certain Greek idea of clever rhetoric and philosophy, he in fact deploys some sophisticated arguments on a range of issues, and wants the Corinthians to fully understand:

Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your understanding be perfect (1 Cor 14.20)

Paul is here using the language of perfection, teleios, that we find in Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect’. In the opening of his letter to the Philippians, Paul has a similar emphasis on understanding:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,  so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Phil 1.9–11)

Paul doesn’t just rebuke the Corinthians for their divisions; he explains that it is God who gives the growth, so individual leaders are not that important. He doesn’t just urge sexual purity; he explains why the bodily resurrection might shape our thinking. He doesn’t just tell them to allow all to participate; he roots it in the practice and purpose of the Holy Spirit in giving gifts to the church—and so on. It makes us feel that Paul’s letters are complex and demanding (and I suspect his first readers/hearers felt the same!) but it models a pastoral approach to the development of mature discipleship.

3. Encourage the asking of questions, not the acceptance of formulas

When we were at the conference in 1994, Hybels was teaching about fruitful evangelism, and he shared with us his formula:

Bill Hybels says it boils down to a simple equation so for all you algebra nuts here it is:

HP + CP + CC = MI

It is that simple, so we can all go home now and the church should grow from here. Well maybe we should put this formula to work.

You know what? It isn’t actually that simple! There is plenty of wisdom in this formula, and it has an explanation that is rooted in the teaching of Jesus:

HP simply stand for HIGH POTENCY, it means being a good example. It means letting your light shine brightly throughout your everyday life. It means understanding that those who live in darkness are attracted to light, so you need to be that light, not a flickering candle. Lose your temper and curse in public, you just lost some wattage. Pass judgment on people in town with others, your light is getting dimmer. Get involved in gossip about your neighbors, you become a candle flickering in the wind. We need to be a HIGH POTENCY light for the world.

CP – stands for close proximity. This simply means, being a shining light only at your house is doing nothing for the expansion of the kingdom.

CC – stands for clear communication…

These things are good—but I remember thinking, as I came away from these teaching sessions, ‘This is a formula’. Sometimes formulas, summary sayings, and helpful alliteration are good to enable people to remember things. But formulas are not real life, and they often close down the possibility of asking questions, like ‘Does this really work?’ and ‘What if it goes wrong?’ For many people, it is asking questions of exploration that really enable them to learn.

In a plenary session, I asked Bill Hybels what he did when there was a theological difference that opened up in the church. His reply was ‘We take the question to our theologian, Gilbert Bilezikian, and he tells us the answer’. That did not strike me as the most robust way to deal with questions.

4. Offer a secure ‘cell’ of central belief

Crumple zones in cars only work to protect the passengers if they also contain a strong safety cell as a complement. For some unknown reason, my parents once bought an Austin Allegro, complete with its bizarre square steering wheel. The Allegro was great in terms of its crumple zones—it would collapse quite happily at the slightest impact. Unfortunately it didn’t have an effective safety cell, and was notorious for dropping the engine into the lap of the front passengers in an accident. (I am glad to say we never learnt that from our own experience!)

This, for me, is a model of what ‘progressive’ Christianity is like. There are plenty of crumple zones around—you can ask questions about anything and everything. But where is the safety cell of core Christian belief? Very often it is not there, and that is why you often find people making the journey from traditional faith, to progressive faith, to lack of faith. Something similar happens for those shaped by Fowler’s model of ‘stages of faith’, where greater maturity seems to be associated with a greater ability to ask questions and a reduction of any kind of certainty. Apart from the practical problems with this model, it leads you to expect that the person who modelled the greatest maturity of faith, Jesus, would be someone who was certain of nothing—which hardly accords with his depiction in the gospels.

We build a ‘safety cell’ by inducting ourselves and others into the historic core of the Christian faith, for example by saying (and teaching on) the Creeds. Someone commented on Facebook last week: ‘We recited the creed this week, something we don’t normally do. It had an interesting effect; perhaps we ought to do it more often.’ Perhaps indeed. It seems to me that one of the major structural and strategic weaknesses in all forms of ’emerging church’ is the failure to attach the flexibility of form and context of ‘church’ to the solid safety cell of creedal confession.

5. Model patient enquiry in community. 

If we are going to develop a strong safety cell, but develop these ‘crumple zones’ where we can question and challenge, then we are going to need to find a way of sustaining faith in community whilst questions are being resolved—and the bigger the questions, the more patience we are going to need. I have been struck by Paul’s explication of the nature of love, which begins ‘Love it patient’. What does that then mean for our love of God? In an instant world, are we prepared to be patient with God as we seek answers to difficult questions?

A large part of that patience is delivered by a faith community that creates space for questions, and maintains relational fidelity, whilst also offering the safety cell of creedal belief.

However we do it, we need to nurture ourselves and others so that we all grow a faith that can cope with the challenges that life throws at us.

If you enjoyed this, do share it on social media, possibly using the buttons on the left. Follow me on Twitter @psephizoLike my page on Facebook.

Much of my work is done on a freelance basis. If you have valued this post, would you consider donating £1.20 a month to support the production of this blog?

Signup to get email updates of new posts
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

If you enjoyed this, do share it on social media (Facebook or Twitter) using the buttons on the left. Follow me on Twitter @psephizo. Like my page on Facebook.

Much of my work is done on a freelance basis. If you have valued this post, you can make a single or repeat donation through PayPal:

For other ways to support this ministry, visit my Support page.

Comments policy: Do engage with the subject. Please don't turn this into a private discussion board. Do challenge others in the debate; please don't attack them personally. I no longer allow anonymous comments; if there are very good reasons, you may publish under a pseudonym; otherwise please include your full name, both first and surnames.

37 thoughts on “Does your faith have a crumple zone?”

  1. Thank you Ian.

    I read your posts regularly, usually with interest, often learning much and almost always prompted to think harder. I read the comments, sometimes with dismay, often learning more about how to speak (or how not to speak) than gaining greater understanding of the arguments.

    This one has been the most word in season I have needed. Discouraged with the wretchedness of our sin, somewhat hopeless with how even those we have learned from are weak and frail, I have been challenged again to rely on Jesus alone, see the depth of his grace to us in rescuing us from our utter depravity and look to him for shepherding. The temptation to make a human religion that can affirm goodness we define is real. But the reality of that safety cell in Jesus, no matter what has crumpled around it is very helpful. Thank you.

    And I know anonymity is viewed with suspicion here, but I’m always anonymous online. Sorry.

  2. To extend your analogy further, what role to you think ‘air bags’ have in this situation? Often pastoral support for people in crises is not available, ineffective, responds slowly and is often too little too late. When my father died in distressing circumstances there was no safety cell for me and it took several years to pick myself up again in my faith although I learned a lot about how not to counsel people in bereavement. Churches it seems to me are not good at this kind of thing perhaps because many harbour or suppress disillusionments of their own and that includes their leaders.

    • Thanks Chris, and sorry to hear about your own struggle in this context.

      Yes, I am sure we could extend the metaphor—though I think you are moving in to a different area, that of pastoral response to emergencies. That is important—but the way that we allow faith to be built in the first place *might* mean that there are fewer emergencies and that we naturally cope with them better.

      That is not always the case in the kind of situation you have experienced—and other pastoral provision needs to come into play then.

  3. I would suggest that for Paul one of the key reasons why he was able to continue with such vigour during his persecutions etc was because of his own personal experiences with God, which most of us have not experienced. Many Christians today, and I include myself, primarily rely on ‘head knowledge’ and little else.

    As for Hybels, Im not sure I would take much advice from him given recent accusations.

  4. This is really excellent.

    I think it would be worth examining some of the reasons that Christians end up feeling a need to form very hard, rigid opinions on theological issues… For example, I would put it to you that there’s something performative here, on top of our psychological needs, that emerges in church contexts that tacitly reward having a clear position on different issues.

    I also think that a “crumple zone” is more than just a set of issues you might be prepared to accept you don’t know so well – you also need to know which areas of belief you are willing to discard if they came into conflict with deeper held propositions. As a simple example, a core tenet of modern evangelism is that there is strong historical validity to the New Testament literature. If that’s a real “hard point” of your faith – then you need to accept that ’empiricism’ is a prior belief to your belief in the Gospel.

    So I wonder how church leaders could help people to be more honest; both about what beliefs they are still uncertain about and haven’t had to test – *and* about how their faith might ‘crumple’ down to certain hard points? It takes real guts to do that.

    • Funnily enough David I have written a brief note on “Is it OK to doubt?” using Matthew 28 verse 17. This passage goes into the Great Commission but verse 17 says:
      …And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.

      They worshipped him, but some doubted.

      If the disciples can doubt some things then so can we?

  5. I would like to agree that churches need to be better at having spaces where questions can be asked and difficult issues addressed. I am also interested in ways we can provide spaces for those who have fallen out of the church because they felt the expectation of belief no longer matched their life experience -do you know of anyone who is helping to facilitate this?

    However, I would disagree that the creeds are the best ‘core structure’ to ground people with. That may work for some, but from my own experience, I can say that in hard times I find a range of scripture and personal memory of God useful, but not the creeds. And I would question whether it is helpful to give the same weight to the virgin birth as we do to hope in the resurrection. If I was trying to create a core safe space it would be padded with grace, reconciliation and hope in the resurrection, as I (currently) think that maybe the best starting point for further exploration of faith from a place of doubt or hurt. I also think it is OK to choose a different core if it still providing a lifeline back to God, as some core is better than none, and maybe different aspects of faith are more meaningful for others.

    So while I think churches should teach a balanced representation of the faith, what might help people not fall out of them would be to have the courage to allow space for stories of where people had managed to hold on to something despite the car crash, whatever this looks like. This allows car crashes to be normalised so as not to force people out. Hopefully, it would also allow the grace of God in a range of real-life situations to brought to be regularly remembered.

      • Im not sure how believing the virgin birth (which I do) particularly helps Christians in times of doubt etc, except in the general sense of ‘God does miracles’. The resurrection would be more important, for example, when facing suffering and death.

        • PC1, Peter?
          I’d say that there is no Good News without the need for and reality of incarnation (through God the Holy Spirit) of God the Son and no resurrection without God the Holy Spirit. And the Good News of our union with Christ, in our Spirit breathed new birth, in his active and passive life obedience, in his death, in his resurrection and in his ascension. Beyond words, really.

          • Agree much. The principal contrast between Jesus’s eternal redemptive efficacy and the provisional atonement secured via OT high priests is that, as part of Adam’s sinful progeny, the latter needed to purify themselves before they could offer the prescribed sacrifices on behalf of Israel.

            At the annunciation, it’s Jesus’ God-wrought supernatural conception that explains why, as One who, though fully God, took his human nature immaculately from Mary alone, Jesus is designated the Son of God:

            “Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

            Absent the virgin birth and Christ’s death is merely tragic suffering, but not the perfect and completely voluntary sacrificial offering that it is.

          • David, thank you for unfolding some of the context of the whole of scripture, that was hidden and assumed in the condenced comment I made.
            I’d liken the Gospel, that God is the Gospel, to a multi-facetted diamond. Puny, I know, compared to the glory of God in the face of Christ.
            “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” ESV, 2 Cor 4:6
            BTW I hope you get some better sleep, unless you are not in the UK, which could account for the time of your comment.

    • I think poor teaching can lead to unmatched life experience. I know someone who effectively gave up on Christianity because he came to believe that all Christians should be able to speak in tongues, and the fact that he didnt led to disillusionment. Im sure that wasnt the only thing going on in his life but such false teaching can lead to false expectations, which in turn lead to disappointment. Philip Yancey has written a whole book on that!

  6. Having began Christian life as an middle age adult through Alpha and with an emphasis thereafter (discipling?) on healing, the charismatic gifts, the prophetic, Wimber, Pytches, Urquart, Toronto, Sunderland, Brownsville, Transformation videos, gold fillings, became unsettled and challenged, reading books from Joni Erikson- Tada, and David Watson’s book dealing with his illness and last days (having previously been greatly challenged by his “Discipleship” book).
    And ,of course Psalm, 91 was a cover-all for divine protection from all adverse circumstances. And only, if only you were taught how to pray the precise correct prayer, the fullness of the Kingdom Now is there for all who are unwavering in belief. Pastors who doubted were put out of healing meetings.
    But I was being drawn to read more widely, encountering AW Pink, John Piper, Systematic Theology, (mostly Grudem) Open Theism, Process Theology and the differences between the points of Arminius and Calvin and the core tenets of the Reformation.
    At some stage during that time I concluded I couldn’t continue with the Faith and Worship Course in the Methodist Church, as I’d be unable to vow not to preach or teach against the doctrine(s) of the Methodist Church.
    And I had an emergency triple CABG. It was during that time the ballast the reformed teaching dug deep, even though it felt that God had been surgically removed from my life and some friends thought I’d lost faith. My own prayer was little more than a moan or groan. What was on God’s agenda through it all, I pondered deeply in the pain, physical pain which is such a great distractor from God.
    It seems that large parts of the church in the West has been marinated in the health wealth and happiness culture of the wider world, or as has been said, moralist therapeutic deism hold sway, or have it all now, the Kingdom now. Whereas the reality is the Kingdom Now but not yet, and this life is not the only life there is beyond which there is a resurrection Kingdom Now.
    Resilience. Was my faith resilient?No. At least not in the stiff upper-lip, stoicism sense. I’d been brought to the end of all my own resources, to complete dependence on God, nowhere else to go, but to the reality of our Triune God of the creeds, through a gift of faith that is at the base line a revelation of God by God, beyond transient feeling.

  7. Many thanks for this, Ian. I agree that one of the Catholic Creeds should be recite every time Christians met for formal worship. The loss of this ancient practice has contributed to the loss of objectivity among modern Christians along with deep confusion over the Trinity. Yes, mark me down as classical. To begin with affirmation of faith in the eternal Triune God as attested by the Scriptures will put all our affirmations, questions and doubts in a better perspective. We need to avoid the Scylla and Charybdis of ‘progressivism’ and ‘charismania’ – of expecting too little from God or too much this side of Paradise. A healthy realism about the inborn and persistent nature of sin (including desires we don’t desire) along with a firm insistence on the victory of Christ has to be the path we follow. Packer’s book ‘Keep In Step With The Spirit’ has served me well in this regard.

    • I am, as you know, a fairly liberal Christian- some might say ‘progressive’! I go to different types of services: high Mass, Cathedral Eucharists, MOR, fairly evangelical. I never (or extremely rarely) attend a service in which a creed isn’t recited.

  8. Yes, when everything around has crumpled, the shiny exterior of our Christian life has taken a battering and we are left silently wondering if it’s all over, that’s when we need a survival strategy.

    Some great points have been made here already. I’d offer the thought that instead of mentally thrashing our way through past certainties and wonderful experiences only to end up with the conclusion that this sudden car crash of our faith proves it was all an illusion, it might pay just to stop thinking about it altogether.

    If we shut down our bleak thoughts, blank out the panic and refuse to mourn the spiritual life which we’ve just mentally buried, we’re set free both from our own dejection and also the spiritual attack which has knocked us flat. But that’s not all. Yes, we’ve blanked out our doubt but we needn’t blank out the very notion of God. In place of that amazing emotional relationship with him, now hopelessly crushed, we need to fall back into automatic mode whereby we continue to act as if he is still sovereign, still there but not contactable for now. In practice that means reliance on the foundation of our faith even if the building is no longer discernible. So it’s core habit Christianity; quiet, for some of us it will be solo, acknowledging him, still visiting our Bibles, still praying, but out of love (a bit like visiting a grave), not in expectancy but in peace, and waiting as long as it takes for recovery – weeks, months, years.

    And surely it’s in those times that previous investment in the knowledge of our Bibles, of memorable liturgy or hymn lyrics, creeds and psalms, pays off. The things of God remain in us, still sustain us and contribute to our healing. If God really is still there (and I believe he is), if we truly want him back, it will happen.

    And no, this isn’t just theory. It worked for me.

  9. I have to put up my hand and admit I have no idea who Bill Hybels is. But one thing I can say with confidence, from my visits to the bookshop, is that there is a lot of emphasis on individual personalities within the commercial ecosystem of evangelical Christianity. Which of them, if any, teaches “as one having authority and not as the scribes”? How would I tell? What happens when one of them (inevitably) turns out to have feet of clay? A faith that overemphasizes the resources available within this ecosystem is not resilient.

      • Anyone who can use the internet can find out in ten seconds who Bill Hybels is.

        That is true for any individual personality, yes. But in the ‘commercial ecosystem of evangelical Christianity’ such personalities seem to proliferate like anything, and who has time to look up and keep track of dozens of these similar-sounding names?

        • I found Hybel’s wikipedia page in five seconds – less time than it takes to write “I have to put up my hand and admit I have no idea who Bill Hybels is.” Anyone who has followed discussions about Church growth in the past 25 years knows who he is. Quite a few C of E clerics have been to Willow Creek. I don’t know anyone with a similar sounding name.

  10. Another ingredient, as others have suggested, is a spirituality that embraces grief and doubt. This means praying through such experiences, which needs to be modelled in church hymnody and intercession (as well as preaching).
    The psalms are our sadly neglected primary resource in this respect.

    • “Embracing doubt” sounds spiritual (in a 60s kind of way – think of Sydney Carter, whose awful songs still resonate in school assemblies) but it isn’t. Doubting is never valorised by our Lord or His apostles. “Stop doubting and believe” is His word. If that jars with the modern spirit of unbelief, tant pis. No church will ever be dedicated to St Rene Descartes.

      • Dear Brian

        You say doubting is never valorised (a very american word) by our Lord or His apostles……

        Talking of the apostles:
        Matthew chapter 28 verse 17 (just before the Great commission):

        17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.

        • An American would write ‘valorized’ (and ‘worshiped’). I don’t know on which side of the pond this word first appeared. Its historical usage is in political economy, referring to government action to boost the price of a particular commodity by buying it, but it is common enough today in social science circles to mean ‘ascribe value and worth to something’. I do not think the doubting disciples in Matt 28.17 are commended any more than Thomas was (John 20.27). Why did some doubt? Perhaps because the Resurrection itself is so counter to normal experience, the default position of most thinking is to look for another explanation. If the scene described in Matt 28 involved not only the Eleven but the 500 disciples in 1 Cor 15 (meeting on some hillside in Galilee, a remote enough place where a large crowd could gather), then the difficulty in believing becomes all the easier to understand.

      • No doubt about it. We should not doubt the key doctrines of our faith which are summarised in the Creeds. We should not doubt that God will keep His promises. We should not doubt that God has given us sufficient light to live in a way that pleases Him, if we are conscientious about our discipleship. We should not doubt that dark and confusing times may come upon God’s saints when God’s presence and voice will be hard to discern. We should doubt that we understand the fine detail of God’s vocational purposes for our lives. We should doubt that we know how another person stands before God. We should clearly reject the idea that the fullness of happiness is God’s purpose for us in this life and that the existence of suffering is a defeater for the promises of Christ.

      • Indubitable. Brian, beat me to it with his first sentence.
        It is also context dependent. Too often “doubt” is misused and is a replacement for shear unbelief.
        In the context of Keller, while I have a number of his books and couldn’t find and fix the quotation in a particular paragraph, or chapter, from memory, it is addressed to those exploring Christianity, unbelievers.
        At law, doubt is in the context of evidential standard of proof, the weight of evidence.
        A helpful book of Keller’s is “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering” which, perhaps, would have been unlikely to have found favour at the height of Willow Creek prominence from my reading of one of Hybel’s Books, “Courageous Leadership”, which, to me, was far too influenced by business methodology and practice of that time. From distant memory it was far different from his book, “Too busy not to pray.”
        Keller acknowledges that his book is not one to be read, digested, in the midst of pain and suffering, but before.
        Another book which is likely to have cut across the culture of Willow Creek, is “How long O God?” by D A Carson.
        From a crisis of faith came this book from Francis Schaeffer : “True Spirituality.” A quick Amazon search will give a number of helpful reader reviews.
        It goes without saying that non of the above authors are Anglican, nor even of Willow Creek theological persuasion – so I haven’t.

      • Yes. For everything one thinks is true, there is an infinite number that one has perforce to doubt are true. I tend to find that Christians sometimes use the term ‘doubt’ in a more all embracing way than one might expect, which tells me that they think there is an ‘all this’ that they think they are ‘supposed’ to believe. However pistis is neither precisely faith nor precisely belief: it is commitment to one who has previously proven themselves trustworthy. It is therefore evidence based. One believes anything in proportion to the evidence. Which might seem obvious, but that does not make it less true.

  11. HP + CP + CC = MI

    Indeed, this approach (there’s a formula) concerns me. In some circles the Alpha Course is in danger of becoming the only course that God is perceived of as using. (And I’ve used it quite a lot). Clearly it suits some and of them some come to faith. But equally as obviously it definitely doesn’t suit others and they may find their way using other material…. I wonder if this is more about the kind of church that the offerer has in mind than the best material for the seeker?

    I’d agree about the creed (in more than one form) in worship. These are subtly infusing anchors that can both educate and strengthen when feelings prove insufficient. Haven’t we all noticed that even those with some degree of dementia start joining in again at these points? I don’t believe this is all mindless repetition. Music instills statements into us the same way… though sometimes it’s gripping music to fairly shallow thoughts.

  12. I found Hybel’s wikipedia page in five seconds – less time than it takes to write “I have to put up my hand and admit I have no idea who Bill Hybels is.” Anyone who has followed discussions about Church growth in the past 25 years knows who he is. Quite a few C of E clerics have been to Willow Creek. I don’t know anyone with a similar sounding name.

  13. Thank you Ian.

    I work as a Student Pastor in Leeds and this is perhaps one of the key things within my role. As adolescence seems to be lasting longer (up to 25), “safe spaces” become more of a thing and an inability to allow questioning of anything becomes the norm on campuses.

    The Why of everything does seem to be vital and does seem to have been assumed in any teaching for the last 20 odd years.

    I will continue to reflect on this post and would welcome any further reflections you add in time.
    This is something vital that Fusion Movement should wrestle!


    • Thanks Tim. Yes, I am sure you are right. Laying good foundations early on which build a faith which will last through the hard knocks of life is vital, and more important even than giving young people a ‘frothy’ and exciting immediate experience…


Leave a comment