Equippers as Environmentalists: Re-Imagining Leadership in Today’s Western Church Part XVI
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After an introduction – Part I, Part II, Part III, and looking at the five mega shifts happening in our Western Culture – Part IV ,Part V, Part VI and Part VII, and Part VIII, now it is time to re-imagine leadership in this context. Part IX, Part X, Part XI, Part XII, Part XIII, Part XIV Part XV starts the re-imaginging process and this post continues it.
The Story Teller [Evangelist] seeks to cultivate a welcoming environment that helps the community practice hospitality as a way of life. A master programmer’s approach to storytelling is a class on evangelism where people receive a little booklet (like the four spiritual laws) and set people loose to take people through the pamphlet in hopes that they might pray the sinner’s prayer at the end. Or they might create a seeker service and encourage everyone to use the invitation method of evangelism.
The environmentalist approach is quite different, for environmentalists understand that, in our current context, most pre-packaged presentations remind people of a bad used-car salesman. Instead of trying to create or use a pre-packaged program with the goal of getting people to assent to four spiritual laws or points-on-a-bridge diagram, they encourage the community to embody the good news to the point that people outside the kingdom want to switch the narrative that they are living in and enter into the kingdom of God in all its glory.
Story tellers who are environmentalists help the community engage in practically blessing the neighborhood so that people can see that Jesus is the Liberator of those who have been oppressed by the system, the Lover of those who have been rejected by society, and the Deliverer of those who have been seduced by consumerism.
Instead of holding a class on evangelism in the confines of the church, story tellers who live as environmentalists find third spaces for people to meaningfully connect with others and then personally demonstrate how to live incarnationally in that space. More than that, they encourage people to use their first and second places, where most of our time is spent, to live out their faith in such a way that brings light to those around them. Environmentalists realize that more is caught than taught. Using this approach, they move people away from pre-packaged ways to a more personal and nuanced way to share the good news.
We we will at pastors or what I call soul healers in the next post.