Monday, 5 September 2016

Living a questionable life

1 Peter 3:15
Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.

As we prepare to embark on a new season in Path of Renewal, our hope will be to persuade congregations at large that they have a crucial part to play in evangelism today.
That will require lots to affirmation and assurance. It will require winning over those who, in the past, have felt inadequate or turned off by the stereotype of the evangelist who stands on the street corner or in the back courts haranguing folk to follow Jesus. It will require the reclaiming of the term "questionable lives" so that those who hold office in our congregations and those who don't will see themselves as evangelists - those who are always prepared to "explain the hope they have in them ... with gentleness and respect." - confidently sharing why church is important to them, why they choose to spend Sundays in worship or week nights involved in church activities, being open about how they spend their time so that folk will want to question why they spend their time engaged in the work of the church.
As well as dismantling stereotypes, we also want to encourage people to recall those who faithfully and gently mentored and nurtured them in faith - those who cared when they didn't show up at Bible Class or Youth Fellowship or some other church activity, those who inspired and influenced them, and those who walked quietly alongside them. There are many stories residing in memories, perhaps not visited for some time. By recalling those, the hope is that otherwise diffident folk will embrace the possibility that, today, they have all that it takes to walk with others, to encourage others into and through faith.
Changing a mindset is no easy task but perhaps a first step is tapping into shared stories and memories, demythologising the task of evangelism, and restoring it to a normative place in our culture today.
Matthew 10:10
You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment...


  1. I have been finding your philosophical and theological insights interesting, but am concerned, as so often happens with church spokespeople, that you have wound up in a cul-de-sac. As someone at the other end of the spectrum, diffident and on the fringes of church and society it concerns me that again, I hear it is all about evangalism. The church has to make itself attractive rather than demanding. I feel with a lot of church leaders, not necessarily yourself, there is a ring of 'Physician, heal thyself'.

    1. Janet, thanks for reading - and for responding. One of the things we are clear about in Path of Renewal is that it's not about making the church more attractive, waiting on folk to pitch up - and certainly not about tweaking what we already do to try and make it better. We want to find ways of being authentically involved in our communities and, through relationships, perhaps earn the right to share our faith - that's why I think that we need to spend time giving folk the confidence to do that.