On the 17th I blogged about the change in how ministers are trained. When I went through my training, the focus was on S-T-U-D-Y. Now there is a greater focus on practical theology and internships. But now here's my question: Where are we going to send our young, devoted ministers-in-training to do those internships? Where can they go to do grassroots training on how to have a missional impact in those hidden nooks and crannies of society? Most churches are in chaplaincy mode -- taking care of the long-time converted, managing everyone's selfish preferences, reshuffling committees, making sure the nursery is adequately staffed, etc. Most churches are ill-equiped to reach the places that these young ministers are interested in. Most churches seem to have a circle-the-wagons mentality, worried to death about liberals, Democrats, gays, etc. But many of the young ministry students I know are more interested in loving the world and serving the world than in condemning the world. They seem, remarkably enough, to want to follow the lead of Jesus who was in the world but not of the world. They envision churches that minister to people who struggle with same-sex attraction, who drink a bit too much, and sometimes sleep around. They imagine helping those who have lost their way, those who can't grasp any absolutes, those who have failed royally. They don't want people to be known (as I heard Don McGlothlin say this week) for their worst moments. And we want to send them on internships where they learn how to conduct staff meetings and how to calm people who greatly value being "comfortable" with all that's happening in worship? We want them to learn from Abilene churches -- where there is a weekly exchange of members who became uncomfortable someplace else and where "church growth" is defined as a new class that brings in more university students? There are places out there where they can learn a lot. But they may look VERY different! They may look like Central Dallas Ministries. Or the Impact Church. Or any number of places where the majority of our members just wouldn't be comfortable. (Again, our obsession with being comfortable. If I hear one more lecture on helping people become COMFORTABLE with what's happening, I'm going to scream. There's real discipleship: take up your cross, become comfortable, and follow me.) Here's what Randy Harris was asking Wed PM at the ACU lectureship: Are we willing to support them in pursuing these missional dreams -- even when it means they're going to be in a place where WE might not be comfortable? Much is at stake in how we answer that question.