Guests: Alex Bryan and Paddy McCoy
As we ha ve noted in previous lessons, the work of evangelism is not simply the task of professionals. The church as a whole is called to bear witness to the gospel.
- We often emphasize the power of one-on-one witnessing. However, in Genesis 12, we find one of God’s earliest missionary callings. Here, God calls Abram to relocate his family. God also promises to make him into a great nation, bless him, and then, through him, bless the world (Gen 12:1-3).
- Why did God ask Abram to move away from Ur and go to a distant land? What was especially strategic about the location of Palestine?
- In what ways would Abraham and Sarah’s descendants serve as a corporate witness to the world?
- Where they a consistently good witness?
- How faithful–and how good–must a people be before God is able to bless others through them? Does God move on to another community if his first choice fails?
- Does God still have a special group of people through whom he wishes to bless the world? How would we be able to identify that special group? Would it be on the basis of their theology, their actions, or some other identifying feature?
- In what ways is the corporate testimony of a community of faith more powerful than the testimony of an individual? What biblical examples can you think of to support your view?
- As missiologists study the spread of the gospel through history, they have concluded that the reasons for “rejecting” the gospel are often (or even usually) because the gospel is perceived as culturally foreign. The gospel is rejected primarily because it is seen as alien, not because it is determined to be false. Notice how Jesus’ model of ministry takes this into account. First, he left the heavenly culture and came to live with those he wanted to save. He was born as a Galilean, which was a distinct and identifiable subculture in Israel. He selected as his disciples men who were also Galilean–with the probable exception of Judas. His ministry began in Galilee. Clearly, his message was for all, but he seemed to intentionally build a network of followers from his own, unique Galilean subculture.
- What lessons are there for us in this?
- In what ways does the dominant church culture actually hinder us from reaching other cultures around us?
- If an “unchurched” person came to your church next week and stayed by for potluck, what parts of the service and the meal would leave them feeling like a confused foreigner? Would it be the sermon? The music? The food? The dress? The vocabulary?
- Who should bridge the cultural divide? Should the church expect the newcomer to change (i.e., “Learn OUR language!”) or should the church try to adjust its culture in order to minimize the newcomer’s culture shock (i.e., “We will try to speak YOUR language!”)? Does 1 Cor 9:21-23 help us with this question?
- Colossians 1:28-29 speaks both of proclaiming and perfecting. How will the church ever become perfect and spotless if it continually is welcoming new, imperfect members?