In need of other young adult opinions on “Assesing Believers Churches’ approaches to evangelism and mission in our time”

Hi All, I need your help. I will be presenting at a North American Believer’s Church Conference in about a week and will be representing young adults….ha! This is an impossible task and an enormous responsibility. The context of the overall conference is, I believe, the “tension” between the individual congregation and the denomination. The theme of this particular workshop I’m presenting at is “Missional vision and practice of denominations together with congregations in the Believers Church family: Present-day issues and opportunities.”

The specific questions are:
1. How do young adults desire to engage in the church’s ministry of mission and evangelism?
2. Where do you see possibilities and problems in the church’s approach to mission in our day? Provide illustrations.

Well I have PLENTY to say on these topics but I desperately need the counsel of others of my generation/culture or those who are “young adult” at heart. Questions like these should be answered in community and not by an individual. If you have problems with the language in these questions, by all means, provide alternative language as you answer the question as you understand it. These questions are asked in the context of a discussion about the local (congregational) and global (denominational) roles of the mission of the church and a trend toward “local-centred” mission initiative and the way that a Believer’s Church self-understanding intersects with missional ecclesiology.

I don’t think I’ve ever introduced myself on YAR properly before. I was born in Canada, grew up in E. Africa, went to the US for college (EMU), then worked in Virginia, went to seminary in Manitoba, Canada, spent some time in Mozambique, worked for Mennonite Church Canada and am now headed for Israel/Palestine soon as an international worker for Mennonite Church Canada. Faith-wise, I consider myself Christian anabaptist, from a Mennonite/Methodist family and am currently inspired by emergent/missional writings when they’re real and down to earth. I am often disillusioned with the church but hopeful at the same time.

I’ll post some of my opinions on my topic once a discussion starts :) And I really would appreciate feedback.

Comments (3)

  1. Sharon

    Hello, Hinke. I’ll offer immediate reactions to your questions, otherwise I don’t think I’ll respond. If you’d like a more thoughtful response I’d be happy to offer one in time. Of course I do not speak for the collective “young adults” but only speak for myself, as a young adult.

    1. As a part of daily living – mission needs to be an incorporated aspect of how we live, not an add-on. It’s not something which can be contained in a few-week assignment or assignments (which I’ve done in the past), a three-year overseas assignment (which I’m doing now), or in defined “projects” that a church names, puts in its budget, and assigns workers to (which I’ve also participated in). All of those are good initiatives with positive thought and effort behind them, often for the right reasons. But how I desire to engage with the “church’s mission and evangelism” is to be living it and breathing it as part of who I am in this world, and how I live my life in response to God and fellow humans. A bit vague, I appreciate, but hopefully understandable.

    2. I think our approach to mission today is too programmatic, centralised, and institutionalised. Yes, I am for sure a product of my generation which has quite anti-institutional attitudes. However, I do see centralised and top-down responses to grassroots movements and initiatives and I see them hampering the Spirit’s movement in the world and our capacity to respond. In our postmodern (or hypermodern) world, I would like to see mission reflecting more of the relational and fluid nature of human contact – for “mission support systems” (current mission agencies, etc) to be less prescriptive and less contained within strategic plans and budgets but to be instead support for what the human missional agents “run into” in daily life.

    But these are just a young idealist’s views … I’m clearly out of touch with reality and don’t understand the benefit of these tried-and-true methods and systems for doing mission. [This last comment was sarcastic, but also realising the need to couple dreams with reality for viability.]

  2. Hinke

    Thanks Sharon for your “immediate reactions”! I agree with you and what you have described, I think, is what a lot of people call missional living. But I think often this concept gets programatized when it hits institutions. I also very much hope for grass-roots mission initiatives that are wholistic and that realtionship-based rather than budget or agenda based. That way as we live out “mission” (I don’t actually like this word because it has baggage), we live it out of relationships and so it is born out of the needs or the creative Spirit-led energy that is already present in the context.

  3. Pingback: The Body of Christ » Young Anabaptist Radicals

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