One day I’m sitting on a sky train in a major bustling city sipping Starbucks frappuccino while the next I’m sitting in a thatched hut in a jungle eating a rare and newly discovered species of squirrel. In both places I get to live life with people who are lost and people who are found. From two utterly different walks of life, West and East, I get to see the Kingdom of God at work.
And my observation is this: the East is experiencing the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit as the Kingdom of God advances, while the West is experiencing spiritual stagnation as the kingdom of comfort and compromise advance.
Faith is dead in many western nations like the U.S., Europe and Australia. Modern church multiplication movements are happening mostly in the global-south like Latin America, Africa and especially Asia. We know this already. Western church planting practitioners talk a lot about learning from missional movements in the East. But everywhere I go in the West I am bombarded by a market driven church culture. From podcasts, to parking lots, to buildings, to emo pants, stage lights, and communion cups – the church in the West looks nothing like the church in the East.
In the East, following Jesus is simple. It is life-transforming. It is inherently dangerous. It is counter-cultural. It is massively driven by obedience. If we are to take the Spirit-led movement of churches reproducing churches seriously, we must evaluate and throw off everything that contributes to our own comfort, influence and tradition.
These are my general observations. Of course there are exceptions to the rule. There are many spirit-filled individuals who are living out the Kingdom and seeing small church movements in the West – but of course we don’t know their names because they would prefer you know the name Jesus.
How do you observe faith in the West/East?