"Mission Evangelization as a Strategy forCongregational Redevelopment/Revitalization" Dr. Larry Rankin Director of Mission & Outreach and Dr. Roger Swanson, Former Director Operation Evangelization Florida Conference, United Methodist Church
Mission - Evangelization “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness….
Mission - Evangelization • When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd…
Mission - Evangelization Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’”Matthew 9:35-38 (NRSV)
Mission - Evangelization • Since Jesus Christ, Christianity has been unapologetically evangelical and missionary. • The “Mission Dei”: the self-revelation and missionary initiative of the Triune God.
Mission - Evangelization • . In Africa the number of Christian adherents has increased from near 9 million in 1900 to near 350 million currently with a projection of reaching 700 million by 2025, in spite of political, social, and economic instability. • Membership in the Methodist Church in Cuba, has more than tripled in the last 15 years.
Mission - Evangelization • The exception to this growth has been among the so-called “main line” denominations in the western world of Europe and North America. • Florida, for instance, 7 out of every ten persons are unchurched… • Two-thirds to four-fifths of all congregations in the state founded before 1960 are either on a plateau in size or are shrinking in numbers. • Many congregations seem content with the status quo …
Mission - Evangelization • A theological relativism in some main-line circles that lays no claim to the absolute uniqueness of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, thus undermining the gospel imperative to reach out to lost people. • Such a theology would question whether there are, in fact, any people who are lost?
Misson - Evangelization • Significaint factor— the calcification of the “Christendom” model of being the church, which was prevalent in the late 19th century through the middle of the 20th Century. • Model of the church as a religious institution, rather than an evangelical and missionary enterprise rooted in the apostolic witness and centered in the person of Jesus Christ.
Mission - Evangelization • Christendom congregations-- served by professional ministry and are engaged in programming limited to ministering to members rather than in mission to a lost world. • Such an inward focus has failed to take seriously the rise of secularism and its challenge to the church.
Mission - Evangelization • Such congregations characterized by “silo” thinking, treating Christian faith as isolated interest areas (evangelism, mission, spiritual formation, education, social action)… • Rather than God’s reaching out with hope, hospitality and healing to an alienated world.
Mission - Evangelization • “The time has come, for judgment to begin with the household of God” (I Peter 4:17). • New and established congregations have moved from a Christendom model to a Missionary model of being the church in the world. • They have a vision to serve, not each other, but the community in which they are located…
Mission - Evangelization • This vision to serve reaches out beyond their local communities to embrace needy people around the world. • Led by spiritual leaders who see their primary role as equipping the laity for the work of ministry… • The calling of every baptized Christian… • To discover their calling and to pursue the skills and gifts needed to fulfill their ministry.
Mission - Evangelization • Missionary churches, are churches for unchurched people… • Such congregations are committed not to adding “members” only but to “making disciples.” • Intentional about making disciples that moves people of all generations to grow from a seeker to a mature Christian disciple.
Mission - Evangelization • To move toward a strategy of mission evangelization that stresses the holistic perspective of the Gospel and the Great Commission… • The vision that drives this strategy includes the five movements of the evangelical/missionary congregation.
Mission - Evangelization • The Proclamation of the Good News • The Delivery of the Good News • The Acts of the Good News • The Transforming Power of the Good News • The Apostolic Motivation of the Good News
Mission - Evangelization 1. The Proclamation of the Good News • “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Mark 1:14-15 (NRSV) • John, the Baptist, his kin (Luke 1:36-42) is arrested. • As Jesus announces his mission
Mission - Evangelization • The Four Parts of the Gospel • “The time is fulfilled, • and the kingdom of God has come near; • repent, • and believe the good news.”
Mission - Evangelization 2. The Delivery of the Good News “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NRSV)
Mission - Evangelization • Apostolic Authority • Go …Make Disciples • To All Nations • Baptizing them • Teaching them • I am with you Always
Mission - Evangelization 3. The Acts of the Good News • Moving Belief to Faith and to Action “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lords favor.” (Isaiah 61: 1-2a; & Luke 4:18-19)
Mission - Evangelization • We serve a scandalous Savior “When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way”(Luke 4:28-30).
Mission - Evangelization • Christians Recycle Rubbish “We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.” (1 Cor. 4:13). • We are fools for the sake of Christ (1 Cor. 4:10).
Mission Evangelization 4. The Transforming Power of the Good News “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect” Romans 12:1-2.
Mission - Evangelization • Conform to the Trends of this World • Transform- Metamorphose • Wesley’s “Works of Piety” • “Works of Mercy”
Mission - Evangelization 5. The Apostolic Motivation for the Good News-- when Holy Spirit Birthed the Church “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles…
Mission - Evangelization All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people…
Mission - Evangelization And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved”(Acts 2:42-47). • Organization of the Apostolic Church
Mission - Evangelization • A. Regardless of the size and the location of local churches, house churches and missions, the Church can provide a consistent message and practice of the Gospel, that is, offering Jesus Christ to persons and accept to His saving grace. • B. Every faith community's main objective is to "seek and save those who are lost" and all their activities are focused on this mission.
Mission - Evangelization • C. Faith communities have nearly 100% participation of all their members with each one having a role in the life of the church as it fits her or his gifts and graces. • D. The leadership of the laity is primary, while the role of the pastor is that of mentor, shepherd of the sheep, and proclaimer of the vision of the church.
Mission - Evangelization • E. Organizing and maintaining small group ministries in the form of house cells and missions is a primary activity of the mother church. Every local chartered church has a number of house cells and missions. House cells will always be connected with the mother church. Missions are intended to grow and be chartered as churches. • F. In the Methodist Church in Cuba, missions become churches when they have 12 baptized members and are able to provide a minimum salary and housing for an appointed pastor.
Mission - Evangelization G.. The Methodist Church in Cuba recognizes a baptized Christian as a member when he/she has completed the following criteria. At the moment of conversion, the new person declares her/his intent to be a Christian, and he/she is enrolled into a first discipleship class. She/he is required to participate for three months. The class is in charge of the laity of the local church, with supervision by the pastor. The new Christian must show evidences of her or his commitment by over a 90% attendance record, and his or her expression in their action and word by giving her or his Christian testimony.
Mission - Evangelizaion • Worship and Evidences of the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit • We ARE in the Apostolic Age • When the best missionary opportunities are ahead of us