Monday, July 05, 2004

Incarnational...trying too hard...right-side-up values

I wonder if we try too hard at the incarnational thing...? So hard that what we have to say isn’t heard....? So hard that what we have to say isn’t trusted? So hard that what we have to say isn’t of value....?

"uh-huh… uh-huh… uh-huh…" the judgement, disparagement of what I am saying from the other end of the phone is almost tangible.

I’ve been invited to speak at a conference about how to make your church grow through your community programme. The organiser is on the phone. Stood in our foyer our phone call continues....

"So you don’t try and get people that come into your week day centre to come on Sunday...";

"no – some come because they are intrigued and want to, but we don’t try";

"so you don’t have special services during the week for people"


"so how do you try evangelise these people?"

"we don’t try – we have healthy relationships that naturally encourages discussion".

"uh-huh..." there it goes again… the judgement ... disparagement.

What we do try is to meet people on their agendas not ours – the funny thing is most people find that attractive and it gives us the right to share our faith when the time is right. I’ve kind of grown out of giving people both barrels of my best evangelistic shot – so that I could go home happy. I wait for those moments based on solid authentic relationship. Meeting people on their agenda is so refreshing!

All the time there is a steady stream of people leaving having had breakfast in our café. Rachel; Philip; Diane; Gerry; Dave the shuffling denture man; Patrick - All whispering goodbye and smiling “see you tomorrow”. There are conversations unfinished and I’m angry I’m on the phone…

Our conversation peters out. One day I’ll tell about the conversation that I had with Gerry on his agenda. That conversation goes on and on!

"As one reads the book of Acts, the Church, that first alien community, really wasn't defined as a building you go to once a week. It was much more of a living breathing community …

I am firmly convinced that the first call of the gospel isn't to proclamation and I am committed to evangelism. And I don't believe that the first call of the gospel is to social action and I am very concerned for the poor. I believe the first call of the gospel is to incarnation. Only as we flesh out in community something of the right-side-up values of God's new order do we have any basis to speak or act."

Sine, T (1999) Mustard Seed Versus Mcworld: Reinventing Christian Life And Mission For A New Millennium

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