Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Some thoughts on church...

I seem to be referencing others today but this is a meaningful post from Gordon Cotterill :: URBANarmy :: on his thoughts on taking a "partisan" view to church / reaching others.

Gordon references Dan Kimball who in turn reference's George Hunter, and his book The Celtic Way of Evangelism. Hunter contrasts between the Roman model and the Celtic model for reaching people ::
Simplified it looks like this:-

Roman model for reaching people:
* Present the Christian message;
* Invite them to decide to believe in Christ and become Christians;
* If they decide positively, welcome them into the church and its fellowship.

Celtic model for reaching people:
* You first establish community with people or bring them into the fellowship of your community of faith.
* Within fellowship, you engage in conversation, ministry, prayer, and worship.
* In time, as they discover what you believe, you invite them to commit.
Gordon's post is a great post which I commend you to read. The reason for referencing these two models is that I have never heard of them before but easily recognise both of them.

Taking this off on a tangent :: The question I would ask, with regards to them, is not which I am or which is the most effective in putting "bums on seats"... but which is more beneficial to the ones we reach?

Two points of reference ::
1) The comments made by Bill Finley aka Postmodern Salvationist regarding crap evangelism - Link - Futhermore, the comment on the post made by my good friend, Paul aka DJ Haggis. Both lead away from the Roman approach and towards the Celtic approach.

2) The end of our first session of Alpha in 2006.

I have experienced both approaches and I have to say from my most recent experience that the Celtic approach works for me.

Faith for me is about community... being church not going to or doing... Its about whole-of-life. Alpha worked because it was genuine - the feelings I have for the people on the course will stay regardless of whether or not they "join"... For me it's about loving people and treating them like adults. If I followed the Roman approach then if the opportunity was presented then rejected... what would happen to the person who made the decision not to follow?

People make decisions at different times... not everyone is spontaneous nor are they at the point in their life where they believe they need God's grace. A whole-of-life community of faith accepts people for who they are now... and not what they could become.

Maybe I have answered my question... I believe the Celtic approach to be the most beneficial... but I would temper that with the need for focus. Living faith is one thing but we must still shine our light wherever we are. We need to be authentic and not salespeople... this isn't a sales pitch... but then again, the question of God's grace is of life changing importance.

Anyway... that's my ideas... What do you think?

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