Welcome to Provocative Church

As you browse, read and share the many articles, our hope is that you may find this site an encouragement to your faith and Christian life.

Worship

We were created to worship. And we are to worship God with every aspect and area of our lives - presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.

The Church

The bride of Christ can often times be difficult and messy - but it is Christ's beautiful mess - to which He is the head and chief cornerstone.

Ancient Future

Our faith comes out from a rich heritage and history. It was during the formative years of our faith that creeds, confessions, traditions, and liturgies were developed. These practices and traditions recaptured will not only anchor us but move us forward in our faith.

Freedom

There is freedom in the gospel as it proclaims that in Christ we are sons and daughters of the King. The importance is learning to preach those truths to our heart and life everyday.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Friday, May 05, 2006

3 Paradigms for Evangelism

"Three Paradigms for Evangelism" (from Emerging Evangelism)

Confrontational Evangelism

The confrontational style of evangelism was popular in the 1970s in the US, particularly among para-church evangelistic organizations working on college campuses. It is still popular among conservative evangelicals, but is becoming less so.

The gist of the approach is to find a way to confront someone with either a gospel presentation, assertions about their lifestyle, questions that must be answered dichotomously and immediately, or some combination of the three. Tracts, gospel meetings, and door-to-door visitation are often used to support this approach.

The church growth movement eventually eschewed confrontational evangelism because people got tired of being the targets of this approach. Instead, most large churches now use the attractional model of evangelism.

Strengths of confrontational evangelism:

* Gets people thinking about their relationship with God
* Materials such as tracts, and tricks such as fake surveys, make it easier
* Results are seen immediately, and in measurable terms

Weaknesses of confrontational evangelism:

* Very “in your face”, which can turn people off to Christianity permanently
* Assumes the person is ready to listen at a time determined by the evangelist
* The gospel is limited to the few elements that can be included in the presentation
* People may feel pressured into making a “decision for Christ,” which they may not understand or be ready for
* Few personality types are successful at doing this type of evangelism

Attractional Evangelism

Rather than get in people's faces with a presentation of the gospel, the attractional model seeks to help non-Christians “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).

As churches became larger as a result of the church growth movement of the 1970s, they had more resources and infrastructure to provide helpful services to attract non-Christians. Sermons tended to become less confrontational and more about "helping people where they’re at," with the eventual goal of leading people to Christ through relationship evangelism or the occasional gospel-oriented sermon.

Strengths of attractional evangelism:

* People choose when to expose themselves to gospel presentations
* The church is seen as a source of help rather than an attacking, confrontational organization
* People see the link between the service expressed by Christians and the love of Christ expressed on the cross
* Church programs provide a context for the development of relationships between Christians and non-Christians

Weaknesses of attractional evangelism:

* Programs may not actually attract non-Christians due to factors invisible to church leaders
* Very expensive
* Programs tend to foster consumerism-church is seen not as a faith community, but as a provider of religious goods and services
* "Church shopping" leads to comparison and competition among churches, leading in turn to programmatic oneupmanship
* People may feel that a "bait and switch" has been pulled on them, as if the programs were a trick
* People are committed to the programs that the church offers rather than the gospel, and may not appreciate or even understand the gospel in any depth

Incarnational Evangelism

Incarnational evangelism is the approach that has been used by small churches for many years-in fact, since the New Testament era. The idea is that you live a life illustrative of the gospel, and as people get to know you and talk with you, they come to understand and appreciate the gospel. As it becomes appropriate in your relationship, you discuss the gospel and its implications for both of your lives. Ideally, the non-Christians sees the truth and value of the gospel through your relationship, and decides to become a follower of Christ.

Incarnational evangelism is rooted in the incarnation of Christ, in which God entered the world as a human, to relate to humans in understandable, approachable terms.

Strengths of incarnational evangelism:

* Does not require a specific type of church in order to work
* Free-no expensive programs
* Does no harm-people aren’t turned off to Christianity by the process
* Flexible-undertaken in the context of an actual relationship
* Thorough-time can be taken to explain the gospel in depth, with all its nuances
* Relevant-since communication is bi-directional, the explanation of the gospel addresses actual questions and concerns of the non-Christian

Weaknesses of incarnational evangelism:

* Slow-takes a long time to see measurable results
* Hard to organize on a large scale
* May not happen at all - requires individual commitment and effort
* Depends on the individual Christian’s knowledge of the gospel - other resources don’t help as much


Any comments to these paradigms? Are there more? Is your paradigm represented well?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Customer or Community



A funny commentary on the "spirit of the age". Church is a family, not a product to be consumed. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The People Who Shape Our World


The People Who Shape Our World:
In the recent edition of Time Magazine there is a feature entitled, 'The People Who Shape Our World.' Time has created a list of 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example, they feel, is transforming our world. Here is a sample of the list, notice anything strange??
J.J. Abrams
George Clooney
Dixie Chicks
Ellen DeGeneres
Wayne Gould
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Arianna Huffington
Ang Lee
Renzo Piano
Rain
Rachael Ray
Jeff Skoll
Kiki Smith
Will Smith
Zadie Smith
Howard Stern
Meryl Streep
Reese Witherspoon
Rob Pardo
Daddy Yankee
Tyra Banks
Dane Cook
Matt Drudge
Stephen Colbert"

World magazine aptly points out..."TIME lists 27 "artists and entertainers," 16 "scientists and thinkers," 22 "leaders and revolutionaries," 21 "heroes and pioneers," and 23 "builders and titans." (The fact that this actually adds up to 109 people may be because TIME saw no mathematicians among the world's most influential people)."

The questions that I ask myself are first, are these people who are actually transforming the world we live in? Is this more hype and fluff than anything else? But if this list is to be taken seriously, what does that tell us about the world we live in. Either one of these two things are true. Men and women in the church and people of faith are transforming the world, but their influence has just gone unrecognized by the editors of TIME. Or we in the church aren't being provocative with our faith, we are not being missional in attempting to see a world and culture transformed by the power of the Gospel -the upshot is that we are merely ineffectual.

Which is it?

It is a sad comment that the only people of faith that made the list were, "Muqtada al-Sadr of Iraq, Pope Benedict, and Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria".