Sunday, February 06, 2005

Changing the evangelistic metaphor

Spencer Burke, founder of The Ooze, writes on the benefits of changing the metaphor of evangelism from evangelist as warrior to evangelist as gardner. He makes a pretty good case. The point I found most interesting, albeit not necessarily the central one for Burke, is here:

Is the Gospel about me … or is it about God? That’s the tension. As people begin to unpackage their faith, they’re starting to question whether there’s more to the Gospel message than just atonement. Is it about Jesus saving people, or Jesus setting up His Kingdom? People are hungering for a story that’s bigger than them—one that stretches beyond human effort and includes the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit.

Burke deals with a point critical to the North American church. Evangelism that focuses on strictly personal salvation (particularly up to the point of conversion) feeds the extreme individualism that destroys communities and impoverishes souls in our culture. Such an individualistic mindset is particularly destructive to the church, which God means to be a community so integrated as to function as a single human organism. If I look at church strictly as a means for getting me saved, I miss out on the fact that God is not just saving individual souls, he's building a kingdom. The challenge for preachers, particularly those of us steeped in democratic individualism, is to learn what Kingdom means, and proclaim it.

Burke's article, by the way, comes to TS via The Pastor's Buzz.


Post a Comment

<< Home