Thursday, October 14, 2004

Evangelism andwhatnot

Lots of conversation around the blogosphere about mission and evangelism and proclaiming-the-good-news and "just being" the church.....
questions like:
"what is the church for?",
"what's the difference between mission and evangelism?"
"are being apostolic and attractional mutually exclusive?"
"how do we reframe/reimagine evangelism for a post-everything culture?"

As a community we are getting ready to retreat together and affirm our unity as a little tribe of God's people trying to move with the impulse(s) of the Missio Dei. We plan to talk about Evangelism (or the lack thereof) in/around our life together.(There's More) Hopefully we can use the next couple of weeks to talk about the issues surrounding evangelism in our context and arrive at the retreat-times set aside for discussion with ideas/stories/hopes already bubbling to the surface.

so here's a bit from me to get things going...
As i have been thinking about this question of Evangelism (especially as it fits into the framework of APEPT (Frost and Hirsch call it the DNA of the church) - apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, teaching - I have come across some wonderful imagery in the prophets..... Here's one from Zechariah (8:19-23)

Thus says the Lord of hosts: the fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be seasons of joy and gladness, and cheerful festivals for the house of Judah: therefore love truth and peace. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, the inhabitants of many cities; the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, "Come, let us go to entreat the favour of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going." Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favour of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts: in those days ten men from nations of every language shall take
hold of a Jew, grasping his garment and saying, "Let us go with you , for we have heard that God is with you."

Notice the coming/going languge? It seems to me we will waste a lot of energy emphasising tension between these two. Jesus seemed to "go out" and "send out" but people also gathered around him and continued to gather in homes, sacred places, and public places. The next tough question for me is, "what do we say when we 'go out'?" - Accepting, of course, that we live in such a way that is itself a proclamation of the good news of the gospel.

I'd like to have ten people grab me and say they want to walk the road with us........ahhh, every missionaries fantasy :) Whatever questions we have from such a pericope, it seems that joy, gladness, cheer, and peace are part of the compelling case for the Jesus-way of living.

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