Getting information is easy; it is just a search away. Getting meaning is harder and changing in light of meaning is harder still. That is the prophetic message. It is also the purpose of a sermon. The “Data Cake” metaphor is great for sermons. Here is how it works: Data=verses, Greek, Hebrew, cross references; Information=Bible reading, life circumstances; Presentation=the sermon where it is all put together nicely; Knowledge=understanding or meaning, how to put it into life action.
That is also what missions research and missional discovery are all about. They put information into context and offer up the presentation of a ‘prophetic’ message so that life and ministry change for the good. It is the job of the missional prophet to explain the meaning of our present day situation so that followers of Jesus live relevant lives for Christ today.
That is why websites like visual.ly and Indexed are so great. They help us to see the context in which we live. The missional prophet takes those situations and applies the Scriptures to them. Always fascinating, always challenging, never a dull day.