We are working through an article by Scott Thomas on replanting an existing church, that is, renewing a church so that it grows and matures as a church plant does.
So how do we get our members to evangelize? Well, by teaching good news that is so good they can’t help but evangelize.
And this requires us to get away from the Reformation/Evangelical model of evangelism that says Christianity is all about going to heaven when we die. That’s just the first chapter, indeed, the preface to the Story that we are called to live in.
Rather, Christianity is also about joining an ancient, God-indwelt community filled with God’s Spirit on mission with God to redeem the world. We share this community with the saints who died before us and the saints not yet born.
Our mission is bigger than anyone of us and bigger than any congregation or denomination. It’s bigger than everyone alive today.
The mission is not to be a “Jesus follower” (the new euphemism for “Christian”). The mission is to be Jesus. Got that?
We are the body of Christ — and we are only the body of Christ as a united community. I am not Christ’s body. We are Christ’s body.
And as Christ’s body on earth, we are called to continue the mission that Jesus began. What mission is that?
* To preach the good news of the kingdom
* To care for those in need with compassion.
* To caress the untouchable.
* To serve — even to die — for others, to bring redemption to people who don’t deserve it
* To care for God’s creation is though we were part of making it
* To be filled with the Spirit and commune with God by having the Spirit in us while being in Jesus
* To be a community that, like a city on a hill, shines so brightly that the lonely, rejected, and needy seek us out, knowing there is refuge among us.
Something like that.
And if we’ll understand our Christianity this way, evangelism will be transformed from “here’s a tract to read” to “here’s Jesus. He’s just like my home congregation. Come meet him.”