Category Archives: Evangelism

Gospeling at Work (1 of 2)

Should you share the Gospel at work? The short answer: Yes. But before you answer that question we have to re-consider what we mean when we say “gospel” and “share.” So much of out evangelicalism has bought into the notion that the “gospel” consists of four points merely with a decision called for at the end. Sure, the backbone of the Good News is God, Man, Sin, Repentance, Forgiveness.

Throughout our lives, however, we are called to creatively interweave the gospel in our lives. In other words, we need to think of the gospel as integrally tied to our worldview. We cannot look at the customer buynig somethnig from us apart from seeing them as made in God’s image and in need of redemption. We cannot listen to the demands of our manager without considering that we are to revere him as we do the Lord. We cannot respond to a frustrated customer wihtout understanding that there are idols of the heart that must be demolished.

Some people have said that we should not “share the gospel” at work because we are not being paid to “share the gospel.” I think I know what they are getting at. Of course we shouldn’t set up a chair at the water cooler and field questions of faith while we should be making phno calls. Of course, we shouldn’t transition from selling a cell phone by saying, “You know how important communication with your loved ones is? Did you know that God wants to communicate with you too?” That would be awkard, it would burn a bridge rather than burn it since people can sniff the farce of the sale.

If, on the other hand, we begin to integrate our lives in such a way that the gospel becomes the thread by which we weave the fabric of our lives, we will not help but share the gospel in every conversation we have (all speech should be “seasoned with the salt of the gospel”). My job is pretty slow by way of customers coming in the doors, so I have the pleasure (sometimes it is a drudgery, honestly) of talking at length with a customer provided there is not someone waiting in line. There are a few folks I have seen once every couple weeks or so. I try to remember their names, their situations in life (college, loss of family member, broke up with girlfriend, etc…sometimes I feel like a bartender!). When they come in I ask them about their life and they do the same.If I am having a hard week, I share it, if a good week I share it. Today, I mentioned to a lady how I am thinking and praying through my life decisions that are coming down the pike. At times I get to ask them how they celebrated Easter, Christmas, etc.  I seek to be human and treat them as humans. When they are frustrated, I try to help them.

A couple came in a couple days ago and they were extremely perturbed, planning on canceling their service with us because they had been told one thing and something else had been done. I looked at them and had genuine compassion on them. I sought to max out their discounts on service and see what I could do to make their lives better. Instead of chaos in their lives, I sought to bring wholeness — shalom in the Hebrew which means a holistic restoration of the broken order. They had been deceived but I sought to bring truth and alleviate their suffering. In a way, this is like offering a cup of cold water to the parched soul.

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Fresh Approach to Witness-Evangelism

A helpful 17 minute talk by Becky Pippert on evangelism in our current context.

http://conversation.lausanne.org/uploads/networks/images/2/player.swf

1. We lack MOTIVATION
a. We have focused on techniques to the detriment of actually evagelizing.
b. Theology impacts our methodology
c. THEREFORE: We must begin with God
i. He is loving
ii. He is powerful
d. This is the deepest motivation
2. Do we have a MODEL?
a. We do: The doctrine of the Incarnation
b. Reflection on the Incarnation will motivate
c. “As the Father sent the Son, so he has sent us”
i. Birth
ii. Life & Ministry
1. The Kingdom of God is relational
2. Love God and Neighbor
a. The foundation of evangelism needs to be relationship because we reflect the Trinity to our world.
b. How do I maintain my identity and walk alongside unbelievers
3. Jesus was radically identified in:
a. Love
b. Holiness
c. Authenticity, credibility, and spiritual power
4. So much of or evangelism is “hit and run” rather than getting in the mix with people
a. We are surrounded (and pursue) Christian relationships, but do not get out of our salt shaker
iii. Death
iv. Resurrection
v. Ascension
3. We do need METHODS
a. This must reflect the theology we believe
b. How do you go from a natural conversation to a spiritual one?
i. By teaching people how to ASK QUESTIONS
ii. What is the passion of the person to whom you are speaking
iii. Ask them about general interests
iv. Then you move into specifics
v. Then the belief question

An EXAMPLE
c. Pippert went to an agrarian community and asked these questions:
i. How are your crops?
ii. How are you dealing with the stress?
iii. Have you found a way of dealing with the stress that doesn’t make you worse, but better?
iv. Do you think there is a God who can help you deal with the stress?
d. We Need to STATE THE GOSPEL
i. Sin
ii. Redemption
iii. Transformation
e. We need to be relevant and speak about things that are eternal
f. We need to rediscover the irresistible Jesus?
i. The world hasn’t a clue what Jesus is like.
ii. We need to stun people with the fact that the religious hated Jesus and the outcasts loved him
iii. The chief complaint about the God-Man was that he wasn’t religious enough.
iv. Too many times people think our devotion to Christ means that he helps us with our devotions and keeps us from cussing.
v. We need to show them that Jesus never walks away from people who struggle with eating disorders, violence, brokenness. He wades into the mess.
g. We can do this through small group evangelism.
i. A Bible Study for non-Christians–seeker Bible studies

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Brit Hume’s Humility

I have been taken aback by the upheaval of responses to Brit Hume’s suggestion that Tiger Woods put his faith in Jesus. Peter Wehner has an excellent reflection on the culture’s response. I would encourage you to read the whole thing and compare the way Christianity is silenced. Imagine if another commentator were to suggest Woods try Taoism or Confucianism or Shintoism or any other -ism (save Christianity!) and there would be nothing but a ripple from people.

Here’s an excerpt from Wehner’s piece:

I should add that when Christopher Hitchens, whom I like and whose company I enjoy, appeared on television shows promoting his book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, he was far more critical of Christianity than Hume was of Buddhism. Yet I don’t recall the Left saying that those criticisms were inappropriate for public debate. In fact, they weren’t — and neither are Hume’s words. Furthermore, those who are unnerved by Hume’s “sectarianism” were untroubled by the aggressive atheism of Hitchens.

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Moral Understanding as the First Step in Apologetics

Knowledge and understanding are not as neutral as we might suspect. Knowledge and understanding of the Scripture is first a moral attitude. Psalm 19 explains that the knowledge of God impossible to miss, but perpetually denied – as Romans 1 attests. Augustine’s apology is not to merely give evidences to his Manichean counterpart. He assumes that Faustus is able to see the beauty and glory of God in nature – he has, in fact, been born with this innate understanding.

The power of Augustine’s apology for the authority of the Scriptures stems from the fact that the apostles had been with Christ. They had committed their testimony to writing – isn’t this, after all, John’s argument at the beginning of his first epistle? The pseudo-prophet, Mani, had not even been alive at the time of the Incarnate Word. Thus, the Christian has confidence because those who had been with Jesus made permanent their testimony to the life, ministry, and teaching of the Christ.

“If you want to follow the authority of the scriptures, which is to be preferred to all the others, you should follow the authority that has come down to these times from the time of Christ’s presence, that has been preserved, handed on, and glorified in the whole world through the ministries of the apostles and through the certain succession of bishops in the sees” (Answer to Faustus, 33.9).

Before they can believe what is plain to every person, the Manichean must repent and believe God’s testimony. “Since you will not be able to do this – for, as long as you are such people, you will in no way be able to – at least believe that idea, which is naturally implanted in every human mind, at least if it is not disturbed by the wickedness of a perverse opinion, namely, that the nature and substance of God is utterly immutable, utterly incorruptible, and you will immediately no longer be Manicheans, so that sometime you might also be able to be Catholics. Amen” (Answer to Faustus, 33.9).

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Specialization in the Church Will Stunt Her Growth

Reading Peter Brown’s formative biography on Augustine (rev. 2000 edition). In it he makes this profound connection between the halt of evangelism and elitism in the Church:

There was one other split in the moral ideas of his hearers which Augustine could do nothing to heal: for it was a split within Christian ethics itself. The Christian communities had come increasingly to accept a dangerous degree of ‘moral specialization’: one life was left for the ‘perfect’, another for the average Christian. And it was just this widening gulf between an ascetic elite and a passive rank and file which brought the Christianization of the Roman world to a halt. (Peter Brown; Augustine of Hippo: A Biography; University of California, 2000; p. 245).

Could it be that many clergy are making such a dichotomy in their congregations when they fail to show their people how to read their Bible, how to obey rightly, how to die sacrificially as any other priest would?

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Engaging Contemporary Culture

Series of four lectures by Jerram Barrs:

1)Friday Night Session I: Cooperating with God’s Testimony in the Lives of Unbelievers

2) Echoes of Eden in Literature, Legend and Myth

3) The Evangelism of Jesus: Parables for a Mixed Gathering

4) Acts 17: Paul and the Athenians

[HT: Living in Skin]

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Buildings and the Kingdom of God

A friend of mine just posted a thought-provoking article regarding buildings and reaching people with the Gospel. I remember this building he was speaking about on campus. A friend of mine told me that he thought our ministry would thrive if we had a location like that. I told him I would not want the building because of the very things John talks about in this article – not to mention becoming complacent, thinking we have arrived. What are your thoughts on buildings and the Kingdom? Should we scrap buildings? What are their place in ministry? How should we speak about them?

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Though Rich, I Am Poor

If you should see a person puffed up by arrogance and pride because he is a participator of grace, and even if he should perform signs and should raise the dead, if he, nevertheless, does not hold his soul as abject and humble and he does not consider himself poor in spirit and an object of abhorrence, he is being duped by evil and is ignorant. Granted he should perform signs, he is not to be trusted. For the sign of Christianity is this, that one be pleasing to God so as to seek to hide oneself from the eyes of men. And even if a person should possess the complete treasures of the King, he should hide them and say continually: “The treasure is not mine, but another has given it to me as a charge. For I am a beggar and when it pleases him, he can claim it from me.” If anyone should say: “I am rich. I have enough. I possess goods. There is nothing more I need,” such a person is not a Christian, but a vessel of deceit and of the devil. For the enjoyment of God is insatiable and the more anyone tastes and eats, the more he hungers. Persons of this kind have an ardor and love toward God that nothing can restrain. And the more they apply themselves to the art of growing in perfection, the more they reckon themselves as poor, as those in great need and possessing nothing. This is why they say: “I am not worthy that the sun shines its rays upon me.” This is the sign of Christianity, namely, this very humility.

Pseudo-Macarius, Homily 15.37

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The Lure of Opposition

One of the traps I have seen set for me while studying – not that it has not been set before and not that I have not tripped it – is the desire to be a contrarian. You read all these books and you want really bad to make a name for yourself or show that you know the intricacies of an argument so you’ll say something like this: “I liked the book, I think I would have explained things a little differently.” Or, “I can’t stand so-and-so, he doesn’t articulate x as well as he should.” 

This betrays two things (as I see it): 1) my lack of charity; and 2) my laziness.

1) Lack of Charity: If my first inclination is to pick apart someone’s writing and view, then I have not truly listened. Therefore, I am in no position to respond. This is an issue in epistemology where our presuppositions can keep us from gaining knowledge. The wider culture calls it being close-minded. And while most people ruffle at the idea, it is, more often than not, true. Although I may believe what I know to be true, I should bite my tongue and repeat the cpnversant’s argument in my head to make sure I have really listened. My first response should be a question rather than a statement. “Did I hear you right?” “Do you mean this?”

2) Laziness: The times I have quickly responded to someone I have read or listened to with a rebuttal as noted above, I have drifted off into imprecision and laziness myself. That is, I hear so many people say, “Yeah, I heard the speaker but he was a little soft on this.” I have been challenged several times in my short tenure as a theologian by someone when they ask the question: “How would you have said it differently?” So my question to you is: What precisely do you disagree with?

I think many times I have heard someone I respect give such a response to an opponent, but I forget that they backed up the assertion with a list of reasons. My ears keyed in on the “I disagree,” but not on the “why.” So many of us, I fear, want to appear like we know what we are talking about – that we are privy to knowledge unbeknownst to our hearers, when, in fact, we are blowing fluff. May God help us to be quick to listen and slow to speak.

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Filed under Apologetics, Christian Living, Counseling, Evangelism, Family | Parenting, Interpretation, Pastoral, Post-Modernity, Sanctification, Theology

Acceptable Biblical Illiteracy

Gene Veith posts some thoughts on Obama’s lack of biblical clarity and faithfulness. 

I would encourage Christians to use such openness about what politicians claim the Bible says and what it says. I would encourage us to press people to come to terms that they do not know what the Bible actually says, thereby risking their lives to spiritual laziness and ineptitude.

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Filed under Abortion, Culture, Current Events, Ethics, Evangelism, Family | Parenting, Politics

Dwell Conference Summary

All the audio for the conference is now up.

Here are my notes from the talks. Feel free to copy, paste, and edit as you listen.

Pastoral Priorities: Watching Your Life & Ministry (CJ Mahaney)

Dwelling in the Kingdom Mission (Ed Stetzer)

Dwelling Incarnationally (Eric Mason)

Dwelling in the Text (Mark Driscoll)

Dwelling with Non-Christians (Darrin Patrick)

Dwelling in the Gospel (Tim Keller)

Dwelling Through the Text (Mark Driscoll)

Persuasion (Tim Keller)

A friend of mine asked which two talks I would suggest listening to if you’re crunched on time. I would recommend (in this order) 1) Dwelling in the Gospel; 2) Dwelling with Non-Christians; and 3) Persuasion. I know, but I couldn’t narrow it down to two.

 

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Persuasion

Tim Keller

“Persuasion” – Tim Keller (full .pdf download of Keller’s talk)

I have also included abbreviated notes and the Q&A for Keller and Driscoll that followed this talk:

You have got to convince people through the mind before you can expect to affect the heart.

 

(1)  Paul on persuasion and the cross

     a.    Verbal bullying *using force of personality, witty, and cutting disdain, super-confident and demagoguery to beat the listeners into wanting to be on the speaker’s side)

     b.    (the opposite)

(2)  A basic model for persuasion

     a.    Listeners (‘receptors’) automatically interpret communication from the perspective of their own context

     b.    There are two basic approaches to communication: sender-oriented and receptor-oriented

                i.     We need to put words in the listener’s frame of reference

               ii.     This is analogous to “The Dummy’s Guide to…” The expert is entering into the receptor’s frame of reference and language to explain the truths of x.

              iii.     It is far easier to write a technical journal because we can use our jargon and do not have to do the hard work of interpreting truths so that our listeners can understand.

     c.     Practice

             i.     Listening

                    1.    You have to read what they read, watch what they watch, listen to what they listen to

            ii.     Enter the framework

               1.    What are the strongest held beliefs of your audience

                    a.    Teenagers will think the church is prudish, while Muslims think we’re too loose.                                      Contextualize to your audience.

               2.    Use emotion in a way that fits their context

           iii.     Challenging the framework

               1.    Find things that they believe in 4-6 and show them that something they believe strongly is inconsistent.

                   a.    For example, for college students who hold that justice is primary (that it is wrong for the strong to eat the weak)

                   b.    Then you show them that their belief in natural selection contradicts this because they came to be through the strong eating the weak

           iv.     Completing the framework

 

Table Talk

 

Questions

What are some specific listening strategies you would recommend for us?

[Tim] I regularly read periodicals and newspapers (Village Voice, Nation, New Republic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Review, read the book reviews) Have dialogue with the writer. Imagine what they will say to your sermon. Chronicles of Higher Education. Ken Myers’ Mars Hill audio.

[Mark] Watch some TV and catch the shows your culture watches. Magazines and go to the magazine rack (every picture on the cover is someone’s heaven). Walk the mall and go into stores that you normally wouldn’t go to in order to see what people buy. Talk to clerks and people that are working – Who comes in here? What kind of attitude do they have?

What are some basic and common qualities of wolves?

[Mark] How do you decipher a wolf? They do not have the well-being of the flock in mind. The best way to confront a sin is in private. For those whose default is to go public, this is a red light. Typically wolves will have doctrinal issues. Also, he will typically go after the inner circle of power. He will sugar-up the pastor and wife. We need to be aware of these folks.

[Tim] Every book on conflict usually says there is a difference between someone solving a problem and another who is trying to destroy you. Haugk has a book on conflict in the church speaks of five stages. If you are too fast or too slow to call someone a wolf, you can destroy your church. You need to have people around you to help you discern in a timely way.

What are some challenges to urban church planting and children?

[Tim]The wife will have issues of carting the children around. It can be physically more tiring for the wife than in the suburbs. Raising a child before the age of eight is very difficult.

What about a church planting situation?

[Mark] The line between family and work gets too blurred if you are not vigilant. When you open your house to many people, there will be many devious people who are coming. You need to be very discerning and set parameters around your family.

What does it look like to get rid of wolves in your church?

[Mark] You need to have an extremely small door for the position of elder. The mistake I made at Mars Hill was that I was the only one to carry around the gun so that I was the only one to pull the trigger on getting rid of someone. The time to fire an elder is about two weeks before you have thought about it. “Hire slowly, fire quickly.”

[Tim]  Having a group of people who mitigate the decision are like shock-absorbers. We need to let the offender that you stand behind their decision and hand it over to them (especially in the context of a larger church).

Do you think you are dumbing down the sermon when you speak of being listener-focused?

[Tim] Yes. It is not a bad term. The Gospel is offensive and you want people to understand that it offends them. You want to simplify and interpret the message for people.

How can I accurately discern if I am called to plant churches?

[Mark] Fiorst, you need to have a sense of God’s calling. Second, that call needs to be confirmed by the church (per 1Tim 3; Titus 2). Third, you need to be assessed by a group that knows the ins-and-outs of church planting (not merely a congregation). Invariably, we either over or under-assess our ability.

[Tim] “Counsels do err” (WCF). Even though a counsel may say you are not ready, they may err.

How do you move from a small Bible study to a missional church?

[Mark] Launch the equivalent of a church service. You are going to have several launches. You should do this incrementally. Launch multiple care structures.

Give us an instance where you tried this method of persuasion and it did not take? How did you react?

[Tim] Most people are not persuaded. I am shocked when someone is convinced because people are typically skeptical and suspicious. I don’t have high expectations.

How do you help/encourage your wife so she feels like a partner in ministry?

[Tim] Be attentive to your wife and see how her gifts can be used. Find a spot where she can plug holes in the church and get someone to ask her to help. Your wife should be as active (but not much less) as a mature woman in the church. She should be an example, not an exemplar.

[Mark] Define the role of what the pastor’s wife is and is not. You need to be explicit about this because many people will come in with their expectations of your wife. Your wife should be a mature member of the church. There is no job description for the wife. Take into account the season of life you are in the church and family.

How essential is racial reconciliation in urban church planting?

[Tim] We ought to be as racially diverse as we can (b/c Eph 2 presents this view), but we also need to reflect our community. There are places where the diversity would be superficial – so that we could try to be like Noah’s Ark (two of each kind). You’re never where you ought to be in this area…you have to go after and invite those who are different than yourself. If you make a general call for leaders you will get people who look like you to gather around them. You are leveling the playing field.

[Mark] Going to multiple campuses is our way of trying to reach these various cultures. You can intentionally work towards making your elders diverse (without compromise). 

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Dwelling in the Gospel

Tim Keller

Rather than share my sporadic notes on this, I thought it would be best to scan the sermon that was printed in our packet (from which Keller “read”). This may help begin dialogue on what the Gospel is and what the Gospel does.

Dwelling in the Gospel – Tim Keller

 

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Dwelling with Non-Christians

Darrin Patrick

Preliminary Questions:

Do you love non-Christians? Do you have good friends that are far from God? Is your heart broken consistently for lost people?

Romans 10:15 – It is your job to realize that you have been sent. He wants to take away excuses for why we are not reaching the lost and propel us to go out and accomplish our task of evangelism.

God is the first missionary in that he pursues fallen humanity throughout the biblical narrative. Genesis 12 (Walt Kaiser calls this the Great Commission of the OT). The seed promised to Abraham is Jesus. Matthew 4, Jesus links evangelism, discipleship, and mission together (cf. chapter 28:18-20). John 17 teaches us that we are in the world but not of as we try to reach the world.

John 1 is the seminal chapter on incarnational ministry. An example is Zacchaeus where Jesus tells him that he wants to stay at his house. He doesn’t just tell him a message but lives out his mission in his home.

1Cor 5:9ff – it’s assumed that you will and must dwell with unbelievers. The problem Paul is addressing has to do with not dwelling with those who are sexually perverse and call themselves “Christian.”

There are opportunities for being around non-Christians: Tailgating, pay-per-view events, happy hour, video game times, basketball at the gym, a hobby (photography). “Theology at the Bottle Works” is a mercy ministry of The Journey in St.. Louis. You are not going to happen to step into personal evangelism, you have to be intentional in it. (1Cor 9; Acts 13; 14; 17 – Paul went to places with the purpose of sharing the Gospel story with Jews and Greeks). Get involved in people’s lives. If someone is terminally ill, find out about their illness through study of what they have. If someone is a “foody” find out about the fine dining culture. Essentially, care about people enough to take interest in their interests.

Recommendation: Becky Pieppert books. The problem with Christians is that we don’t know how to be ourselves.

The Seeker movement has rightly challenged us to think through missional worship. That is, helping people understand what is happening in the service (keeping away from Chriistian-ese – lingo that is not easily definable).

This is an investment and a sacrifice. It can hurt your sermon preparation; but it can help it by making you aware of real needs in your community. Christ sacrificed (through his relationships) his reputation as a good rabbi.

Our non-Christian friends need to see how we are similar to them and how we are different than them. If you are a struggling father, admit that. But also talk about what makes your desire to be a better dad. You don’t have to hit people over the head with some ideological principles that makes us distinct from them. They need to see anecdotally how we are different.

What are the people that irritate you? You have to bathe your homophobia, racism, preferentialism in the Gospel. Christ came to redeem all kinds of people.

 

Table Talk

What are the main obstacles in connecting with non-Christians?

Being yourself and honest. It is oftentimes easier connecting with people we do not know than people we do know. We have to allow people to see our lives that we do not have to have it together.

So much of what Darrin talked about has to do with being intentional in our lives and relationships. We need to try and not be so enmeshed in strategic church planting that that is the only thing we can talk about. Our passion for reaching the lost can become an idol. We theorize about how to reach the lost and do not reach the lost.

Our arrogance that impels us to micro-manage the weekly service or other gatherings of our people.

Many times we can find solace in our title as “pastor” around our Christian friends, but around out non-Christian friends there is no pretense in our relationships with them. We can go from conference to conference and leave ourselves with little or no time for people (Christian and non-Christian).

We presume that our friendships with non-believers can only be superficial and we, therefore, miss the imago Dei present within the non-believer. We short change ourselves when we fall into this false view of humanity and being connected. One of the qualifications for being an elder is “hospitality,” which means to be welcoming into your homes.

We do need to be aware of our weaknesses so that if we are tempted to get drunk ata pub, you need to stay away from those situations. That does not mean, however, that you divorce yourself from being involved in people’s lives. You can have people over for coffee or dinner.

Recommendation: Jerram Barrs, Being Human

What hobbies, interests, and activities do I participate in or could I participate in that might enable me to meet and befriend non-Christians?

We need to be reminded that Christ has redeemed us as humans. We cannot expect to be super-human. We are intended to be sanctified and become human – through and through. We need to learn how to integrate our faith into the hobbies and interests we have in the world. We can affirm our desire to go workout, sports bars, motorcycling. 

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Dwelling in the Kingdom Mission

Ed Stetzer

2Cor 5:16-21

2Cor. 5.16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 

1.    A Kingdom View (16-17)

a.    See www.LifewaResearch.com for this study (it’s free): What do un-churched think of the church. 72% agreed that the church is full of hypocrites. We could spiritualize this and say, “Well, we’re all hypocrites.” But we must confess that there is something wrong with how we are viewed in the world. 44% confessed that Christians get on my nerves. (Wow, only 44%!). Would 44% say that other religious affiliations get on their nerves. Probably not. The reason is due to our rally cries, we have made many other things our hills rather than Calvary.

b.    We do not know anyone in a purely human way. We must see people with a different lens. How do we get there? If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. We are in Christ and are able to see people in a fresh way. In the HCSB the verse reads: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.” There is a new person and a new community because of the reconciliation Jesus brings. The kingdom expression is not merely the kingdom of God within me, but there is a new order that has been instituted by the re-birth of individuals. The old nature and the old order has been swept aside by the New Creation and New Order (1Cor 7:31).

c.     We can justify our sin with our “defense mechanisms.” We have realize that the Kingdom of God does not show up when your church plant shows up. It already showed up when Christ came. A church planter can be prone to this given the initiation.

d.    How?

                      i.     We need to co-operate as much as we can on a local level. We don’t need to diminish our differences, but affirm

                     ii.     We need to be careful not denigrate other churches as we talk about the

1.  Biblically faithful

2.  Culturally relevant

3.  Counter-cultural communities

 

 

2.    A Mission of Reconciliation (18-19)

a.    Jesus’ mission is our mission

                      i.     To serve: Luke 4:18-19

                     ii.     To save: Luke 19:10

b.    The Kingdom of Christ (Russell Moore) – book recommendation, which places emphasis on the already-not-yet tension we live in reaching our

c.     Mark 12:29-34

d.    The Kingdom of God and missio Dei theology were the theologies that weakened the main-line churches mission and evangelism. But they were poorly defined. The Kingdom cannot be separated from the Gospel. Three words: (1) Be; (2) Do; and (3) Tell the Gospel. “You cannot dwell if you will not tell.” Luke 24:46-49; Col. 1:20.

e.    Bring Jesus and bring justice. Please don’t think you have brought justice and believe [that by so doing] you have brought Jesus. The would will praise you when you bring justice, but they will condemn you when you bring Jesus.

 

3.    A Kingdom Mission (20)

a.  Matt. 10:7-10 – our vision for our ministires must be to minister the

b.  Matt. 6:33

c.  Urban church planting is harder than church planting in general

                  i.     You will have to multiply before you think you are ready.

                ii.     Your agenda must be submitted to the Kingdom

 

4.    A Cross-Centered Mission for the Kingdom (21)

a.    2 Cor 5:21

b.    Mark 1:14-15 – the method by which the Kingdom of God was spread

c.     Acts 8:12 – the reaction of the people to the proclamation. People believed the message and their lives were changed.

d.    The world doesn’t “good people standing around good people telling them how to be good people” (Mark Twain). We plant churches because Jesus became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. He wasn’t just acquainted with sin, he became sin.

 

Table Talk

We are instructed to come to a consensus for one question we would like to ask Ed. (1) Regarding 2Cor 5, doesn’t contextualization require that we recognize people in a human way. That is, we are ministering to people who are white, black, poor, rich, etc. There is no way to not contextualize the Gospel. (2) How do we utilize the resources around us when the reason for our having planted a church is due to our seeing a void in churches and people reaching the community? Additionally, How do you not come across as a threat to other churches in the area? My table decides to ask question #1.

 

  1. How does a Kingdom focus practically work itself out in our church planting? In other words, “How should we plant if the church is the sign and instrument of the Kingdom of God?

We should work hard at developing good community. We don’t want to bring in a completely different culture. We want to contribute to the community that is already there. Citing Jer. 29 we want to unpack our bags, live among the people, build houses, and take wives so that the culture is sanctified. We want to have the perspective that we are here to serve the city, not merely to take from the city.

 

Q & A

1. How do you choose with whom you will cooperate?

            We live in a landscape of great compromise. When you begin to plant churches in a city, there will be people/churches that will attach to you who are fuzzy in their theology. We need to have a robust statement of faith and doctrine at the outset.

Level 1: Christ crucified and essentials of the Gospel

Level 2: Convictional issues (paedo or credo-baptism)

Level 3: Preferential issues. The problem with fundamentalism is that every preference is an essential (music, dress, entertainment, etc).

 

We can work with people as long as they hold on to the essentials. If they www.peoplegroups.info (resource for finding others who are engaged with different

 

Schaeffer spoke of co-belligerence with those we disagree with on the essentials (i.e. human trafficking, poverty, etc).

 

2. Multiply before you’re ready? How and what criteria?

            You will never think that you arte ready – similar to how we cannot wait until you are ready to have another child. What you celebrate you become. Thus, if you celebrate multi0plication, it will be part of your DNA.

 

3. What are the most common mistakes among urban church planters

Naivete: Part of the problem is that you go to a conference and you hear from the speakers. It is an unrealistic picture of what you will never experience. Most of those who will plant churches will have a long, arduous road. [Aside: Stetzer provocatively asks why so many church plants are planted in fast-growing, affluent areas.] We need to be careful not to think that

Superman syndrome: There are people who are broken. There is a reality that we are going into church-planting with baggage.

One-size fits all. Much of our method will be dictated by time, place, and person. There are no magic models. You ought not plant a Redeemer somewhere other than Manhattan. We ought not plant a Mars Hill somewhere other than Seattle.

 

4. How do you know where God is working?

Eph 3:10 helps us to think through this. We should go to the church and see what the church is doing. In other words, we need to take the time to talk to churches in the area and find out what God has been doing in their community, Humility should replace pride in thinking you are here to save the day.

Are there other places to look outside the church?

Yes, but not savingly. He is working in areas of justice. We need to be careful not to say that the church is so ugly and broken that he is not working through her (the issue that came to the fore during the mainline change in theology. They realized the missio Dei was larger than the mission of the church).

 

4. How would you counsel someone who does not have affirmation by his denomination?

            If your denomination turns you down, you should ask “Why?” Don’t go plant a church because the church won’t let you plant a church. If you are allergic to structures, then you need to ask why you do not want to be contained by a structure. It may be a sin issue.

            Too many church planters want money without strings attached. A denomination will have strings attached (theologically especially). If you are only going to plant a church if the resources are there, then you have built upon the wrong foundation.

 

5. How do you balance Spirit-led and demographically-led?

            You go with Spirit-led. But you also need to be informed by the demographics. If you are planting because of a report, then you have built poorly. You need to plant in light of demographics and desire, but not because of it. Church plants fail because planters quit. You will quit when it gets difficult. First, you need to ask where the name of Christ has not been named and go. If you are adamant against going to a certain place, you need to place yourself under the lordship of Christ.

            You need to remember that you don’t leave something, you go to something. You need to do the hard work of balancing in faithfulness and fruitfulness. You need an exit strategy for those who decide to leave the church plant that will not be embarrassing. We need to affirm the dynamic nature of God’s working throughout the world.

 

6. What’s the best piece of advice you received as a church planter?

            “One day you’re going to leave this church and there is one group of people that will go with you – your wife and your family.” 

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