Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another Take on An Old Story

Fred Plummer, from the Center for Progressive Chrisitanity, recently published this article.  It is a description of the Jesus of history that takes a little different tack -- not the usual Bethlehem-Nazareth-Jerusalem cycle with which we are so familiar.  I want to share this with you so that you can read and digest some of the insights that simply come with the reading. Don't be put off because it comes from a source that is labeled "progressive." There is nothing avant guard about it.  Feel free to comment after you have read it.

Just Click here to read the entire article. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, June 6, 2011

How Shall We Evangelize?

Because of its geographical distance, Ireland was out of the loop of the first round of major evangelization by the church. When it was evangelized by Saint Patrick, it operated underneath the radar of Roman control. Thus, its breed of Christianity grew up independently of much of the rest of the church. It was, to use modern missions terminology, an indigenous church.
Depending on who you listen to, Ireland was thoroughly Christianized between one and three generations–incredibly rapid growth by anyone’s standards. Thus, it becomes a great model for us to study.
George Hunter, in The Celtic Way of Evangelism that spells out the Celtic strategy for doubling groups contrasted with the Roman way:
“Bluntly stated, the Roman model for reaching people is: 1) Present the Christian message; 2) Invite them to decide to believe in Christ and become Christians and 3) If they decide positively, welcome them into the church and its fellowship. The Roman model seems very logical to us because most American evangelicals are scripted by it! We explain the gospel, they accept Christ, we welcome them into the church! Presentation, Decision, Assimilation. What could be more logical than that?
The Celtic model for reaching people works like this: 1) You first establish community with people, or bring them into the fellowship of your community of faith. 2) Within fellowship, you engage in conversation, ministry, prayer, and worship. 3) In time, as they discover that they now believe, you invite them to commit. “
This seems the perfect model for the way we do things at St. Mark’s.  With the tremendous efforts spent by the parish in reaching out into the community through its Jubilee Ministries and intentional hospitality the number of people touched daily by the “small” congregation provides an excellent foundation for the Celtic Model.  Last month alone, nearly 300 hundred people and were touched in one way or another.  That constant and abiding statement of care, concern, and presence is St. Mark’s way of fulfilling our baptismal covenant:

“Celebrant      Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and
                 fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the

People          I will, with God’s help.”
-BCP, 304

Thanks to Josh Hunt information on The Celtic Way of Evangelism
by way of Sharon Pearson’s blog “buildingfaith”