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Brian McLaren gave a plenary session at Lambeth in July 2008.

Brian McLaren gave a plenary session at Lambeth in July 2008.

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Lambeth Lambeth Presentation Transcript

  • Changing Contexts: Breaking Open Our Models for Evangelism
  • O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near. Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you, bring all peoples into your fold, pour out your Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten the coming of your kingdom …
  • O God of all the peoples of the earth: Remember the multitudes who have been created in your image but have not known the redeeming work of our Savior Jesus Christ; and grant that, by the labors of your holy Church, they may be brought to know and worship you as you have been revealed in your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
  • Gospel … power of God Word and deed Preoccupied drained Institutional maintenance Religious dome Outsiders
  • Outward mission Disciple-formation Save world save church Division, diversion implosion Irrelevance triviality
  • changing context models of evangelism Virtual pilgrimage World Tour:
  • World Tour: Stop 1: Honduras
  • To download the original slide, go to off-the-map.org
  • October 29-November 3, 1998 Hurricane Mitch 180 mph winds (290 kph) … 75-100 inches of rain (1900+ mm) 11,000 people died. 12,300 were injured. 8,000 disappeared.
  • 150 bridges were damaged or destroyed. The Choluteca Bridge survived intact .
  • But what good was it?
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  • What happened in the physical landscape of Honduras is happening in the cultural, philosophical, social and spiritual landscape around the world. A hurricane of change - … a flood of change …
  • 1500 AD - 2000 AD Modern Colonial World 1750 AD 1950 AD - ??? Pre- or Non-Modern World 1500 AD Emerging, Postmodern, Postcolonial World 2000 AD New Transportation New Media New Weapons New Science New Economy New Spirituality New Transportation New Media New Weapons New Science New Economy New Spirituality
  • One planet - three worlds … What does this mean for the church and evangelism? Pre-modern world Non-modern world Modern world Emerging world 2008
  • Where pre-modern people are entering the modern world, the church is waiting to welcome them. Evangelism is explosive! Pre-modern world Non-modern world Modern world Emerging world 2008
  • Where cultures are solidly within modernity, the church is stable or slightly declining, and “evangelism” consists mostly of religious transfers. Pre-modern world Non-modern world Modern world Emerging world 2008
  • Where cultures are entering the emerging world (postmodern, postcolonial), the church hardly exists and evangelism is almost nonexistent. Pre-modern world Non-modern world Modern world Emerging world 2008
  • The river has moved. Our structures - for evangelism and discipleship - haven’t.
  • World Tour: Stop 2: England
    • According to the 2001 census …
    • 71.6% Christian
    • 15.5% no religion
    • 2.7% Muslim
    • 1% Hindu
        • Less than 50% believe in God…
    • Church Attendance: 10%* - weekly, 15%* -monthly, 26%* - yearly, about 60% - never.
    • *Self-reporting is usually about 50% overstated.
  • People over 65 make up 16% of the English population. They make up 29% of church attenders. About 1000 people join churches in England each week. (The vast majority are immigrants.) About 2500 leave. Is this problem unique to England?
  • No. England is typical of the West. As a general rule of thumb: U.S.A - 50% = Canada Canada - 50% = England England - 50% = Mainland Europe, NZ, Australia. This is a widespread problem … What happened?
  • Old Paradigm/ Model Late Transition England and the West are in a deep shift … Early Transition: Criticizing, defending old model Early Transition
  • Old Paradigm/ Model Late Transition Late Transition: Imagining, creating new model Early Transition
  • Old Paradigm/ Model Early Transition Late Transition New Paradigm/ Model
  • Old Paradigm/ Model Early Transition Late Transition New Paradigm/ Model Shifts aren’t easy.
  • “ It was as if the ground had been pulled out from under one, with no firm foundation to be seen anywhere, upon which one could have built.” Albert Einstein On his paradigm shift
  • “ A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it .” Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography
  • Paradigm Shifts Almost always the [people] who achieve these fundamental inventions of a new paradigm have been either very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change. Thomas S. Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  • The church in England and the West … Evangelism in paradigm shift
  • World Tour: Stop 3: Africa
        • Christian percentage of total African population
        • 1965 - 25
        • 2001 - 46
        • 8.4 million per year (23,000 per day) join the Christian community by birth or conversion
  • From last (1998) Lambeth convention … Nigerians in West Africa report success stories, with more than 17 million baptized members. Uganda reports 8 million members; Kenya. 2.5; West Africa, 1; Southern Africa, 2; Sudan, 2; which all show healthy growth under difficult conditions and indicate that the largest concentration of Anglicans is now in Africa.
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  • Christian Denominations (2000) Roman Catholic 1057 Independents 386 Protestants 342 Orthodox 215 Anglicans 79 Marginal 26 Total 2105 (61) A Rwandan friend … Before 1994 the church had a lot to say about smoking and drinking with little to say about poverty, environmental destruction, corruption, inter-tribal prejudice and violence, or genocide.
  • Christian Denominations (2000) Roman Catholic 1057 Independents 386 Protestants 342 Orthodox 215 Anglicans 79 Marginal 26 Total 2105 (61) A South African friend … The church specializes in getting to heaven, getting healed, and and getting blessed by tithing … but leaves out the rest of life - race, HIV, poverty.
  • Christian Denominations (2000) Roman Catholic 1057 Independents 386 Protestants 342 Orthodox 215 Anglicans 79 Marginal 26 Total 2105 (61) A Ugandan journalist … Q: Do you really have hope for the church? A: Yes, I do … Why do you ask?
  • “ I have no hope for the church here. It makes false promises of prosperity when the only ones who prosper are the prosperity preachers. We have AIDS, unemployment, corruption, war … will the church help us deal with the real problems of Africa, or will it be an opiate as Marx said?”
  • Christian Denominations (2000) Roman Catholic 1057 Independents 386 Protestants 342 Orthodox 215 Anglicans 79 Marginal 26 Total 2105 (61) A Burundian pastor: Yes, our churches are full, but we only have two TV stations which aren’t very good. What will happen when there are dozens of TV stations, theatres, night clubs, restaurants, and a thriving economy? Will our churches still be full then?
  • Christian Denominations (2000) Roman Catholic 1057 Independents 386 Protestants 342 Orthodox 215 Anglicans 79 Marginal 26 Total 2105 (61) Another African friend: Are we making “converts” to a dualistic gospel of evacuation to heaven after death … Or are we making disciples of an integral gospel of reconciliation and transformation on earth ?
  • May we come to your kingdom when we die . May we go to heaven where your will is done, unlike earth. No.
  • Your kingdom come . Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Yes.
  • All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make/form disciples of all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to practice everything I have commanded you... I am with you always.
  • Our call is not simply to make converts, Christians, Anglicans, or church-goers with a ticket to heaven … our call is to form disciples - people who live in the transforming way of Jesus on earth.
  • Question: What one feeling or idea is most alive in your heart or mind right now?
  • World Tour: Stop 4: A Mystery Location
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  • Emerging global postmodern, postcolonial culture
  • Every month, thousands are immigrating to this new territory. They come from Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. This is their new home. When they arrive, there are no churches, no pastors, few missionaries who understand their culture and speak their language.
    • It’s not that they have rejected the Christian message …
      • It’s that the only Christian message presented to them so far has been embodied in the structures and language of a world they no longer live in.
  • In this new context, we can’t simply do what we’ve always done - except harder, louder, and with more technology. We have to be ready for a season of re-learning … a new chapter in the history of Christian life and mission.
  • Remember: we aren’t talking about compromising, watering down, dumbing down, or accommodating to the emerging culture. Instead, we are seeking to identify the ways we have already become over-accommodated and enmeshed with the modern Western, colonial world.
  • And we are seeking to discern what faithful Christian life and witness should look like in the emerging context, into which Jesus sends us as disciple-formers.
  • So many of our forms, structures, and assumptions about evangelism are not Biblical - or even traditional in the ancient sense. They are simply conventional in the modern colonial era of recent memory.
  • For example: evangelism is not revivalism. The world of the great English and American revivals was very different from today’s world. These were revivals within Christendom … but the emerging culture is post-Christendom.
  • For example: evangelism is not colonialism. Nor is it sales and marketing . Nor is it argument .
  • In your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (Peter) You can be perfectly prepared to answer the questions of 1608 or 1856 or 1974 - but not 2008 or 2018.
  • In your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect ... 1 Peter 3:15-16 You can respond with critique and disdain rather than gentleness and respect.
  • Evangelism is the gentle and respectful relational process… Of understanding and responding to people’s questions … So they can find the hope that flows from the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord … not Caesar, not Capitalism, and not even the Christian religion.
  • A new mission field is emerging … not in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean … But in the middle of Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
  • A new mission field is emerging … Calling us to creative new exploration wherever we live.
  • World Tour: Stop 5: Home
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  • Wherever we call home … All around us are people who would be better off as true disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • And our world would be better off if it was filled with more people who are learning to live and love in the way of Jesus Christ.
  • Most people don’t want to be far from God … without peace and without hope in the world … disconnected from others … … part of the problem and not part of the solution .
  • But they don’t want to be Religious fanatics either … Or the religiously lukewarm … … sowing judgment and fear … … afraid to think … … dividing the world into “us” versus “them.”
  • But how will they find faith … If nobody understands? If nobody listens? If everybody is too busy with “church business”? … If everybody complains about the problem but doesn’t become part of the solution ?
  • Who will create safe spaces for people to explore God’s call to become vibrant disciples of Jesus Christ?
  • Will our churches be those spaces? Will our homes be those spaces? Will restaurants and gardens and offices and hallways be those spaces? What would happen if we risked everything to get this one thing right?
  • … When they do come to see and listen, which gospel will they hear?
  • Will they hear a gospel of evacuation, escape, and evasion? Or with they hear Jesus’ gospel - the gospel of the kingdom of God - that brings reconciliation, transformation, and engagement?
    • Anglicans have great
    • advantages at this moment:
    • Gospel of the kingdom of God
    • “ Fresh Expressions” movement
    • Multicultural, global flexibility
    • Liturgy which combines beauty, mystery, intelligence, and clarity.
    • Real need for change and growth
  • Who will set an example for Anglicans around the world … An example of breaking free from internal institutional maintenance and endless internal debate? An example of breaking open old models and creating “fresh expressions” of disciple-forming communities?
  • Decisions could be made in this gathering that could change the course of history - for Anglicanism and the world.
  • Those decisions may not be about the hot-button issues most people are preoccupied with. Those decisions may be about what primacy we will give to the mission Jesus gave us - - of forming authentic disciples . - of turning from the 99 insiders to the 1 outside.
  • But this isn’t about a program. It’s not just something to add to your budget. What if it were as simple as the passion and the commitment to set an example.
  • What if this all came down to … your example
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  • There are many reasons to compare our churches to an old male tortoise …
  • There are many reasons to compare our churches to an old male tortoise … Slow-moving … isolated … Ancient-looking withdrawn in its shell … won’t stick its neck out
  • There are many reasons to compare the changes in our world to a hurricane or tsunami …
  • There are many reasons to compare the emerging global culture to an orphaned hippo … Orphaned by religion … science … government … the economy … technology … consumerism…
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  • What new, unimagined capacities could be stirred up in the church if we rediscovered and reprioritized our outward mission of disciple-formation? What could happen in our world if we turned back outward toward our neighbors - with good news, hope, gentleness, and respect?
  • O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near. Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you, bring all peoples into your fold, pour out your Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten the coming of your kingdom …
  • O God of all the peoples of the earth: Remember the multitudes who have been created in your image but have not known the redeeming work of our Savior Jesus Christ; and grant that, by the labors of your holy Church, they may be brought to know and worship you as you have been revealed in your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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