Magazine article Anglican Journal

Culture Open to Gospel

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Culture Open to Gospel

Article excerpt

ALL THINGS must come to an end sometime, and this will be my final Sharing The Joy column for the Journal. It has been a wonderful privilege for me to have written this column about evangelism for the past several years. In the new year I will begin writing a column on congregational leadership and development for the magazine Ministry Matters.

Throughout the years of the Decade of Evangelism my conviction that we live in a culture that is wide open to hearing the gospel and responding to it has not changed. Looking at the crowds coming to him for help, Jesus once commented to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few." I believe he would say the same thing to us today in this spiritually curious and spiritually hungry country of Canada.

I am more convinced than ever that our current condition of dwindling and aging congregations has more to do with our unwillingness to adapt our methods in reaching people than it does with people not being interested in the spiritual life.

It was Jesus who referred to the crowds as a "harvest." George Hunter III of Asbury Seminary, commenting on the inability of the mainline churches to connect with contemporary culture, observes correctly that the harvest has changed. If the harvest changes from wheat, or corn, to grapes, he says, the harvesters have to change their methods. What worked well in harvesting wheat or corn will not be effective in harvesting grapes. The harvesters have to learn new skills and new methods.

This is exactly the situation we are facing in our church. …

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