The 1947 Willys Jeep was my pride and joy. My dad and I bought it from a professional wrestler (I saved the sales agreement like an autograph) and finished the restoration job his sons had started. We painted it cranberry red to complement the black soft top and chrome trim. My mom teased me about being more concerned about matching the color of my fan blade than I was my school clothes.
Everything about the Willys worked as smooth as warm butter, except … wanting to preserve much of the original character, we retained the flat-head style engine and three-speed manual. The motor ran like a charm, but the old shifter worked, well, like an old manual shifter. Lacking modern advances to smooth the workings, the transmission constantly challenged its driver to locate the next gear. My motto became, “Grind it to find it.” Eventually I acquired the feel needed for each gear. With practice, I found I could shift like I was at Indy. I just had to learn how to engage.
At times, our ministry engagement with the world can feel like an old transmission shift when we’d like a smooth connection. I am excited to share this issue of Dedicated because it offers valuable insights to help us engage the people we desire to serve. Tim Anderson provides a helpful annotated bibliography of resources for understanding today’s influential worldviews. Annette Harrison reviews Cross-Cultural Connections, designed to guide us in our witness to those of different cultures or generations. Sam Baker reviews The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry, a call to re-engage theological thinking in youth ministry. Dan Garland analyzes Communicating for a Change, Andy Stanley’s perspective on contemporary preaching. Exploring the significance of Elijah’s flight from Jezebel, Mark Jacobson helps us engage the reality of our role in God’s work.
Our School of Ministry faculty have worked hard to address crucial issues to help our ministries better engage the world with the Gospel. May the Lord bless us with more finding and less grinding.