Monday, 6 September 2010
Taking It In Stages
I have been reading Steve Hollinghurst's book Mission Shaped Evangelism (Canterbury Press, 2010) in which he explores a whole range of issues around the crucial matter of evangelism. One thing that particularly struck me was his suggestion, near the end of the book, that effective projects tend to operate on three levels - p. 242. First "build relationships in the wider community on their territory." Second, "create or find places where Christians and non-Christians build relationships and explore issues." He suggests social action projects and book groups as two possible examples of this. Then, third, "establish discipleship groups explicitly aimed at those who want to explore and deepen Christian faith." Hollinghurst suggests that much of our mission falters because we ty to jump straight from stage one to stage three. We move immediately from encounter to the attempt to disciple those we have encountered - and it doesn't work because we have missed out the need to build relationship.