On the Church’s Mission

Before Jesus ascended, he spoke to the gathered disciples (Matthew 28:18-20): “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I…

“You Can’t be Friends with an Amway Salesman”

Loren Siebold writes in the latest e-mail newsletter from Vervent: Back in seminary, a couple invited us over for Saturday night entertainment. “How nice,” we thought. “We’re making some new friends.” After some snacks and small talk, they sprung it on us: “We’ve gotten into a business opportunity that we would like to share with…

The Evangelism Imperative

Evangelism is not an option for Christians. It is the primary imperative of Jesus, the “great commission” he gave to the church prior to his ascension: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey…

Ecclesia Plantanda

Ecclesia Plantanda–“the church must be planted”–was the motto of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the patriarch of American Lutheranism. I learned it at Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary, but that was the only reference to church planting in my seminary career–and it didn’t get that much mention in my undergraduate education at Atlantic Union College. Times have changed. Church…

Ministry and Mission

The Journey cites Dream Awakener. The latter has this list under the heading of “success” in ministry; the former has it under the heading, “what a missional church looks like.” Not simply how many people come to our church services, but how many people our church serves. Not simply how many people attend our ministry,…

Church Planting = Evangelism

Via Just Pastors, CT article–Go and Plant Churches of All Peoples: Crusades and personal witnessing are no longer the cutting edge of evangelism. Crusades haven’t disappeared, and churches still teach personal witness. But today, church planting is the default mode for evangelism. Go to any evangelical denomination, ask them what they are doing to grow,…

Ticketmaster Evangelism …?

Rob Bell is having another tour. Charging $13-$17 (plus Ticketmaster service fee) for tickets. One listing adds: “EVERYONE MUST have a ticket INCLUDING infants.” Did Jesus charge admission …? Did he require tickets? Or security? Or special accommodations? Any of the things that various “evangelists” or “religious leaders” demand today?

Evangelism as a Stumbling Block

How do you reach the “unchurched” or “postmoderns,” those skeptical of religion, or having had bad experiences, or who don’t find religious categories meaningful? Rod Dreher links to Amy Welborn who links to Dawn Eden to join in skewering “emerging church” practices and uplifting liturgical church approaches. If we are going to evangelize those people…

When God Is Near

Our 17 year old son, whom I’ll call “Brendan,” for the purposes of this post, has obsessive compulsive disorder. One Monday night in early March, I was out late teaching at a nearby community college and his OCD acted up. He had quite a blow-up and my wife, concerned that she wouldn’t be able to…