Discerning Mission

'being' church...

"The challenge of reconstructing evangelism will not be an easy task. For the gospel to which evangelism invites persons is, by the standards of the Enlightenment, incredible; according to the logic of the market, it is cost-ineffective; measured by modern, liberal notions of the social, it is uncivil; by the standards of an aesthetics formed by the capitalist discipline of desire, it is repulsive; and by the chaplaincy standards of Christendom, it may prove to be neither useful nor helpful."

 Bryan Stone, Assoc. Dean for Academic Affairs;
E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism;
Co-Director of the Center for Practical Theology
Boston University /  Keynote Presenter

 

Bryan Stone asserts that in rethinking evangelism, we must ground our actions not in worldly standards of "success" (attendance, converts, membership, offering income, etc.) but rather in the church's faithfulness to "being" church - to being "formed imaginatively by the Holy Spirit through core practices such as worship, forgiveness, hospitality, and economic sharing into a distinctive people in the world, a new social option, the body of Christ." Stone writes that the "most evangelistic thing the church can do, therefore, is to be the church not merely in public, but as a new and alternative public; not merely in society, but as a new and distinct society, a new and unprecedented social existence."

How might Bryan's contribution to the conversation inform your own understanding of evangelism? How might it help you rethink?

Join the conversation here… or in person July 22-24 at the Rethinking Evangelism conference at Luther Seminary.

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