Thursday, April 26, 2007

evangelism...not always a dirty word pt. 1

I have a book that I constantly refer back to called The Celtic Way of Evangelism, by Geroge G. Hunger III. In it he makes the following statement;

“No major denomination in the Western world regards apostolic ministry to pre-Christian outsiders as its priority or even as normal ministry.”

I happen to think that that statement is fairly accurate but wonder what others might think about it and whether or not it is accurate in light of their own denomination.

I’ve actually contacted Dr. Hunter to get his response concerning the Salvation Army. Does he consider this statement to be true about the Army and, if so, is it because he doesn’t consider us a “major denomination” or is it something else? I’ll let you know when and if I hear back from him.

Again, how do YOU respond to this statement?

Comments on "evangelism...not always a dirty word pt. 1"


Blogger Bret said ... (1:04 AM) : 

Your comment at the top of your blog says it quite well. “You don’t believe what you say, you believe what you do.” We can say we are committed to winning the world for Christ, but what do we do? What we do says what we are committed to.

I can’t wait to hear what Dr. Hunter has to say.




Blogger by the bay said ... (5:35 AM) : 

Alan Hisch's The Forgotten Ways has interesting stuff to say about 'apostolic environment'. I'm just reading it now. If it's the case that attractional, established churches have great difficulty in being effectively missional, then where is the room for apostolic ministry? The apostles as Alan describes them were 'roving theologians' moving among many new, often small, groups of Christians encouraging them, inspiring them, making sure that they kept a sound understanding of their faith, lived it out in a balanced way and above all that they maintained their missional 'DNA'. I know we have a lot of senior leaders who keep telling us to go back to missional living, but if all we do is run attractional programmes in (often dying) established corps, how are we doing that? Surely by definition, apostolic ministry assumes there are people 'going out' into the world?


Blogger blogblogblog said ... (6:01 PM) : 

This might also touch on Bob Lupton's assertion that in order to be truly missional, we must be flexible enough to move with the population we're trying to serve. I think this mobility catches a lot of areas. Certainly there's geography. The Army became locked into properties, which is good stewardship in that it's better than renting, but has handcuffed us in many communities forcing us to stay where the poor and needy were, but no longer are. I think this flexiblity question though also manifests itself in a growing denomination. As the Army has been around now for 4-7 generations depending on how you label a generation, it is inevitable that there is a middle class Salvation Army. That being the case, it becomes tricky for us to maintain our evangelistic DNA found in reaching the down and out while staying relevant to those who grew up in the organization and are now closer to up and out. Are we mobile/flexible/changeable enough to work through that issue? More complicated than geography to be sure. This is not a copout, but perhaps an explanation of sorts. The non-copout says that our early evangelism should have but never did mature into discipleship because if our discipleship were appropriately strong, we wouldn't have any problems with evangelism.

I think when it comes down to it, we in the Army have adopted the fear and anxiety of opening up the conversation about the gospel that has existed in many other denominations for a longer period of time. I don't know if you're familiar with The Courageous Christian put out by Willow Creek about a decade ago. It was basically a course in how to have a "non-threatening conversation about Jesus." It was haled as a great tool to galvanize your congregation for evangelism.



Blogger jon bukiewicz said ... (2:44 PM) : 

greetings - i haven't yet commented on your blog, but i wanted to take time to say how inspiring, thought provoking, challenging it is to read. i picked up "the celtic way..." as per your recommendation and also love it. so from a fellow pseud-salvo from the usa, keep up the good work!


post a comment