Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Something Old, Something New

Written by: on January 30, 2020

I heard a speaker/preacher once say at church, “if you go back far enough, everyone has a past.” The purpose of saying that was to make everyone realize you are not where you use to be but never think of yourself to highly because, without God, none of us would be where we are at today. While this speaker wanted us to remember we were not always as holy as we are now, Nick Spencer would like the current culture, particularly the secularist, to realize the good that Christianity has done.

Nick Spencer, Theos Think Tank Researcher, and Writer compile his collection of essays that share the good things that Christianity has shared with the world in his work The Evolution of the West. Along with his original thoughts, Spencer reviews and adds his commentary on three significant books: Larry Siedentop’s Inventing the Individual, Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, and Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Similar to Taylor, Spencer aims to highlight that while religion has declined, it is also woven into the very fabric of the current age (and is the cause is some respects). Graeme Smith in reviewing this work notes, “I approached Nick Spencer’s collection of essays, lectures and reviews expecting to agree with its main thesis, namely that Western public life owes more to its Christian heritage than is usually recognized” and continues by saying, “There are many interesting sections in the book, and it is often engagingly written, some chapters betraying to good effect their origins as public lectures; however, it fails to develop a sustained argument throughout or to analyse critically the implications of its main thesis for either public life or the work of the churches[1]While I agree with the discontinuity at times, the underlying thread of the impact of Christian is still to be found in the collection of essays Spencer has but forth in this work.

As I continue to research and write for my specific topic of Spirit-led leadership for the next generation, one thing that Spencer and others have reminded me of is the importance of connecting our history to our present. We live in a hyper-connected and hyper-fast world, and it is only getting faster. Studies are showing that the avg attention span now is 8 seconds.[2] The immersive overload of our entertainment-driven lives makes us yearn for the next great thing. Therefore, history becomes the next “instant” moment. Lyons points this out in his book Jesus in Disneyland writing, “Heritage becomes instant and the immediate purges the historical memory, even as it is simulated in film footage and hands-on interactive experiences.”[3] How then do we break into this fast-paced world, I believe that while it may include new ways via technology, maybe something “new” is actually “old.” Rediscovering the slow pace of faith as Spirit-led leaders could go a long way towards effectively developing next-gen leaders. Kinnaman brilliantly says, “the roots of faithfulness often sink deeper in anxious, unsettled times. Faith can grow even—and sometimes especially—in the darkest of places.”[4] As Spencer does, remembering what has been, could go a long way of understanding what is now.


[1].” Graeme Smith (2017) The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values, Practical Theology, 10:1, 102-104, DOI: 10.1080/1756073X.2017.1287043


[2] Elmore, Tim. Generation Z Unfiltered: Facing Nine Hidden Challenges of the Most Anxious Population . Poet Gardner. Loc 887, Kindle Edition.


[3] Lyon, David. Jesus in Disneyland. Wiley. Loc 158, Kindle Edition.


[4] Kinnaman, David. Faith for Exiles (p. 16). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


About the Author

Mario Hood

Most importantly, I am married to the love of my life, Misty Hood, and I'm kept on my toes all day every day, by my son Dalen and daughter Cola Hood. I also serve as the Next Generation Pastor at Church On The Living Edge in Orlando, Florida, under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Dr. Mark Chironna as well as being a Youth and Family Life coach.

10 responses to “Something Old, Something New”

  1. Hi Mario. Good stuff as usual. Yes, I agree, sometimes the mere recalling favor supplied to us, especially in times of need is enough to bring us back a proper relationship with God and his people. I’m reminded of the Hebrew people in the Old Testament. I can’t think of any feasts they celebrated that did not have as its ultimate goal a remembrance and acknowledgement of God’s favor upon them. Many of these passages in Scripture begin with “remember,” or “this will be sign” all of it to draw people to God.

    In your opinion, what are some ways we can apply the whole activity of “remembering” to our context today.

    • Mario Hood says:

      Great points and question. I think google does this well with their doodles. Just today it caught my eye as I was about to search for something and it taught me about the Greensboro citizens during the time of the Civil Rights Movement. This little tech based art peak my curiosity and I learned about history. I think the church stops peaking Curiosity around “youth group age” and starts only providing logical and intellectual arguments to experience God. Maybe adding more play back into our faith will help.

  2. Jenn Burnett says:

    I appreciate your insight that we need to remember our history and the story that we are emerging from. One of the questions I continue to ask is how that story gets told and re-told in light of contemporary values. For example (because I was talking with a friend about this recently) Disney movies continue to be retold…often updating old fairy tales to reflect shifting values. The latest Aladdin includes songs asserting Jasmine’s agency, while the previous version allows her to be more of a pawn. How much do we rewrite the story based on the present rather than letting the present emerge from a different history? When is it important to rewrite history to reflect more voices? And who gets to write the story? Thanks for your good thoughts Mario!

    • Mario Hood says:

      Great question. History has taught us that those in power get to write the story but with social media everyone has a platform now. The challenge with the church is we didn’t write the story (per se) so we don’t change it but we can change/ highlight parts of it that have been silenced. For instance the feminist movement has brought much to light about the silencing of the female voice in the Bible and that adds to the story and in some case changes how it is told. Hope that makes sense.

  3. Tammy Dunahoo says:

    Thanks, Mario. Your point about history is so important particularly for Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians. We sometimes behave as if our faith began in the early 1900’s and fail to recognize the importance of ALL of church history. Several have discussed the effects of immediacy on the gospel. Those of us with a tradition formed in the revivalist period will have to contend with this continually. My greatest concern is that it has caused us to focus on evangelism (immediacy) to the neglect of discipleship (long view). The result can often be an immature church that has little to negative impact in the world. Your research is so important!

  4. Rev Jacob Bolton says:

    Oh Mario, thank you so much. This blog post will now make its way into a sermon. Not only the connecting our present to our past, but the amazing infographic about resilient disciples. Worship as a lifestyle – that can preach!

  5. Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Thanks for weaving Spencer into your research for us. As a coach of coaching networks, I am always interested in developing and raising up leaders. Your summary statement, “Rediscovering the slow pace of faith as Spirit-led leaders could go a long way towards effectively developing next-gen leaders.” helps to remind us to go back and redo our first works of faith. The path forward is the re-discovery of the ancient paths. Thanks again.

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