Postmodern Evangelism

Emerging Postmodern Ministry
Brian McLaren, Ken Baugh, Neil Cole, Dieter Zander
[email protected]
Between Two Worlds
• Waves simultaneously
entering and departing
• Today: Modern and
Postmodern waves
creating rip-tides
Six Transitions in Christianity
Jewish -> multicultural
Persecuted minority -> Favored religion (325)
Roman -> multi-cultural and Greek
Greco-Roman -> Celtic/medieval
Medieval -> Modern (Reformation)
Modern -> Postmodern
When in transition …
• Breathe deeply and
coach calmly
• Look to lower anxiety by
focusing on the single
next step
• A beginning point: look
for parallels between 1c
and 21c
5 Parallels between 1c and 21c
One dominant
Rome, U.S.A.
One spoken trade
Koine Greek, English
Advances in
technology make the
world a smaller place
Roads, Internet
Parallels between 1c and 21c
4. Rise in Eastern
Greek in 1c, World
Religions in 21c
5. Rise in pagan and
occult practices
Acts 17, Wicca
New Postmodern Preferences
1. High value of relationship
2. Journey > Destination
3. Authenticity > Excellence
4. Experience > Proposition
5. Mystery > Solution
6. Diversity > Uniformity
What might this look like?
• Indigenous and intimate
• Lowering bar of “getting
into church” while
raising bar on
“becoming a disciple”
• More conversational
What should the church embrace
in postmodernism?
1. Willingness to utilize
evolving methodology to
communicate gospel
2. Lowering talk of
“absolutes” and “certainty”
in favor of “full knowledge”
3. The move from the
ordained to the ordinary
The common Christian will
be the missionary
Where should the church resist in
relation to postmodernism?
Dealing with issues
of unity and love
between moderns
and postmoderns in
an explosive and
defensive climate
Postmodern Preaching
• From regularity of alliterated outline … to a curious conversation
• From delivered by preacher… to shared within sermon and in
dialogue with the congregation
• No longer incubated only in study, but in out-there conversations
• From stories to illustrate the points to stories that are the point
• From the merely aural to the also-visual and multi-sensory
Postmodern Worship
• From well-produced
(“cheesy”) to feeling
thoughtful but real
• Upping the octane
beyond “ritual” toward
Spiritual Formation
• “Equip, empower, and release”
as key words
• Move beyond serving church
to serving world
• Focus on the means and plan
to “becoming a better person”
and “making a difference in the
Strategies toward Formation
Read Scripture
repetitively, in context,
and in community.
Confess sins
confidentially and with
Pray for lost friends
Missional Church
• “Benediction” as the key
liturgical point
• To be chosen by God is
not just to be blessed,
but to be a blessing to
the world
• From the church saying,
“y’all come” to “we’ll go”
Transition Possibilities
• Engage postmoderns non-defensively & non-judgmentally
– Privately and in church
• Count the cost to be paid with moderns in church
• Plan to study, read, watch
• Allow for un-learning
• Tolerate high anxiety
• Invest in lives of those who can do what you cannot
Teaching Key
• Not just lowering
lights and upping
sound; not just
“smells & bells”
• To teach what Jesus
taught in the way
that Jesus taught it
– “the Kingdom of
heaven is like ….”
Evangelism Key
• You can’t just
believe in
“evangelism in
theory” to reach
• When fishing, they
don’t come scaled,
fileted, and shrinkwrapped
Mental Keys
• Change the
• From legal and
judicial to family and
Emerging Postmodern Ministry
Dr. John P. Chandler
The Ray and Ann Spence Network for Congregational Leadership
[email protected]
Copy right John P. Chandler, 2007