Rethinking Evangelism: Faithful witness in a new apostolic era
July 22-24, 2013
A Perspective of the Global South: Holistic Evangelism and the Priesthood of All Believers
Mesfin Ayele, Ph.D. student, Luther Seminary
We’ll explore how evangelism is perceived, particularly from an Ethiopian context, and how it has been the responsibility of all Christians rather than the ministry of the Church. Theological and biblical foundations will be provided, and we’ll engage in some comparative conversation with the Western perspective.
Evangelism: I Have No Stategy For You ... But I Have Some Pretty Goood Stories to Tell
Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastor, House for All Sinners and Saints, Denver
How does our understanding of evangelism change when we see everything we do as a Christian community as an end in and of itself and not merely a means to an end? This presentation will engage stories from the House for All Sinners and Saints, a sacramental, eclectic, ancient, quirky church in Denver.
"You Changed Me!" The Unlikely Evangelism of the Lutheran Pastor
Mary Sue Dreier, Associate Professor of Congregational Mission and Leadership, Luther Seminary
Congregations treasure their stories of Jesus. Led by the Spirit, they are now venturing into their neighborhoods with this good news. Being an evangelist is not what I thought I signed up for when I became a pastor 30 years ago—it’s much better! This is a transforming adventure today for all of us. Right now. Right here.
Good News from Samaria
Ruben Duran, Director for New Congregations, ELCA
God's Spirit is at work in the margins of society, calling missional leaders to learn and serve with people experiencing poverty, homelessness and marginalization. This presentation engages powerful stories of God's liberating action in the midst of our changing contexts, a new era of diversity in North America.
Ready, Set ... Whoa!: Evangelism Hurdles We Trip On & How to Get Back in the Race
Mike Housholder, Senior Pastor, Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines, Iowa
The Apostle Paul calls the Corinthians to action, for the sake of the gospel, compelling them to do all they can to save some and run the race to win (1 Corinthians 9:19-27). That can be a challenging and disheartening reminder, because many congregations struggle just to survive. Meanwhile, the world around us seems to be growing more hostile toward all things church. Did we trip in our well-intended efforts to do the work of evangelists (2 Timothy 4:5)? Is there any hope we might still get back in this race, much less win? Does it matter theologically? What can we do practically? An open and honest conversation about the challenges facing pastors and congregations with a heart for evangelism.
The Secret of Evangelism is ... Shhh—Listening for the Gospel on Your Margins
Stephanie Spellers, Treasurer, Canon for Missional Vitality, Diocese of Long Island
Mainline Christians usually stall on evangelism because we're stumped by the question, "What do we say?" What if that's not the starting place? If we're seeking authentic, life-changing, God-revealing relationship with our neighbors and emerging cultures, then the first thing to do is go out and deeply listen to them. Stephanie Spellers breaks down the practices and obstacles for churches listening to, embracing and embodying the gospel in changing contexts.
Beauty Will Save the World: Toward a Christian Aesthetics of Evangelism
Bryan Stone, E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Boston University
A theology of evangelism for a post-Christendom world is at the same time an aesthetics of evangelism, one that requires only the peaceable simplicity of an offer and invitation to “come and see” (John 1:46), to experience the beauty of holiness made real in the church by the operation of the Holy Spirit. The faithful and vulnerable embodiment of the peace of Christ rather than expansion, growth and effectiveness in winning converts is the sole criterion of evangelistic “success.”
Toward a Theolgoy of Conversion
Walter Sundberg, Professor of Church History, Luther Seminary
The idea of conversion, while biblical and Christian to the core, is regrettably uncomfortable for many in the Lutheran tradition, especially among the clergy. This reflects our deep roots in cultural traditions of the European territorial church and also the suspicion of American evangelicalism with its tendency to individualism and its belief in freedom of the will. But conversion is the front line of Christian advance, especially in a secular culture. This presentation will rely on Scripture, Augustine and Kierkegaard to formulate a theology of conversion to serve the proclamation of the gospel.
E-A-R-S FOR JESUS—Learning to Find the Other Hospitable
Jannie Swart, Pastor, Second Presbyterian Church, Oil City, Penn; Adjunct Instructor, Pittsburgh Thological Seminary and Rochester College; Consultant, Church Innovations
Discover how one congregation in rural Pennsylvania is learning how to gladly listen to what God is up to among the strangers in their midst. Hear powerful stories from E-A-R-S (an acronym for their listener training process) and The Open Door Café, where coffee and conversation are always free, and beggars gather to tell other beggars where to find bread.
Evangelism after Establishment: Joining God in the Neighborhood
Dwight Zscheile, Assistant Professor of Congregational Mission and Leadership, Luther Seminary
When the church held a privileged place in society, it was easy to understand evangelism primarily as inviting people to church or being benefactors of the disadvantaged. Today, the church is increasingly decentered from cultural centrality. Our call today is to meet people where they are—on their turf—in order to witness to the good news of Jesus as the triune God forms communities of reconciliation and mercy in, through and beyond us.