Saturday, April 05, 2008

Points of Contact

The thought that has been particularly on my mind for the last month or more is the question, "How do we be church in a way that is genuine and will see people come to know Jesus?". Here's a broad outline of where my thinking is going.

I think the main (that is the most immediately relevant presenting problem) question, rather than the critical (ie, there are questions that are more important, but my church has probably already dealt with them), is "How do we make contact with outsiders and then see them confronted with the gospel?"

My answer flows out of an analysis that places a co-central emphasis on Jesus Christ, the Gospel, Mission, and Community. (Reflected in my current sermon series)

The answer then becomes focused on points of contact. By this I mean thinking through where we, christians, can go to meet people we wouldn't otherwise have contact with. It involves being intentional in organising our lives to go out and meet people, and build ongoing relationships with them. clubs, hobbies, whatever and wherever people congregate, we should be a part of that. That's kind of step (1). Step (2) is to do this not as individuals but as part of a community, so it means working to connect new friends with your christian life - introducing them to other christian friends you have, inviting them into your life and so building multiple lines of friendship between them and the life of your christian community. this reduces the burden of 'lone individual' evangelism, and gives the church an opportunity - individuals can use their gifts respectively all as part of showing love to the outsider. step (3) is then vague and led-by-the-Spirit: having ensured a genuine sharing of life with outsiders, our community life together needs to be decisively christian in shape and content, so that they see, know, and acknowledge the christian-ness of our lives, and in one form or another the gospel is articulated to them.

The key challenges are:
1) Forming a vibrant christian community - moving a population of individual christians from meeting once a week to seeing and acting as an organic connected whole that is also outward looking, not inwardly obsessed
2) Creating a mindset among christians of living lives aimed and directed at meeting people and befriending them in order to share in their lives and share Jesus with them
3) Creating a practice of christians living their faith naturally and verbally in community with the presence of outsiders welcome

Just some thoughts along the way...

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