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Evangelism in the Post-Modern World David Schoen Evangelism Ministry Team Local Church Ministries United Church of Christ Including material used with.

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Presentation on theme: "Evangelism in the Post-Modern World David Schoen Evangelism Ministry Team Local Church Ministries United Church of Christ Including material used with."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evangelism in the Post-Modern World David Schoen Evangelism Ministry Team Local Church Ministries United Church of Christ Including material used with permission from Rick Morse, V.P. New Church Ministry, Christian Church (DOC) Church Extension © 2007 All rights reserved

2 ITS A WHOLE NEW WORLD Taxes done in India McDonalds order taken 2 states away Hundreds of marketing choices in any area Instant communication 44% of Christians change traditions/denominations

3 Congregational life has changed too: Mimeograph Yellow pages Volunteers Hospital visits Organ Stairs Committees Budgets

4 Churches are stressed today: Sustainability levels Generational Challenges Population shift Birth rates Numerous cultural factors

5 Sustainability Levels 1930: 30 AWA 2000: 130 AWA Factors leading to growing sustainability factor: Health Insurance & other benefits Higher cost of construction Utility costs Lack of volunteers BASICALLY EVERYTHING

6 More generations today than ever… Gen Z (0-2) Millennials (3-22) Survivors (23-43) Boomers (44-61) Silents (62-79) Builders (80+) Each generation has unique events that formed it, and a different view of life.

7 For church development purposes we tend to think of two main cohorts: Boomer +The rest of those youngsters…

8 Dominant values and behaviors of older boomers and older groups Whatever is right for the group is right for me Appreciate sameness (i.e. Traditional liturgy) Committee structures that are tried and true Deferred pleasure until you have what you need to make the purchase Spirituality of place Organize as a group to form a block (tenacious about position) Circle the wagons; get people on your team to protect whats important Get it done! 35% of the US Population

9 Dominant behaviors of young boomers and younger groups: Ask first, what is good for the individual Individualized style and differentiation Appreciate Difference/multiple choices Trained to look for segments of population so that one size never fits all See themselves as the correctors of the previous generations Spirituality of journey…find spiritual insight wherever they are and in relationship, not primarily place Tribal 65% of the US Population

10 Churches didnt use to worry about generations… Founders Their children Grandchildren & families A few transplants Stephen Compton

11 Many Churches have Lost a generation or 2: Churches do not anticipate loosing youth…(even though that has been the pattern for 40 years) Young adults report: Relocation after college or school Difficulty in assimilation because church style IF they visitlittle generational affinity Most mainline youth become unchurched Roof and McKinney

12 Another part of the issue is membership orientation Pay dues…sign line EXPECT care, access, privilege, control, service by staff…etc. Loses vision for a mission that can be characterized by Gods love in Christ for the world. It is Exclusive The post-modern world has little interest in membership organizations POWER SURGE, Michael Foss

13 The result is aging congregations While the younger cohort equals 65% of the population, they are only on average about 30% of existing congregations Growing Gaps in understanding

14 Beloit Mindset: Typical 28 year old… They can never think of a time without computers in the home They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan era, and did not know he had ever been shot. They were 11 when the Soviet Union broke apart, and do not remember the Cold War. They have never feared a nuclear war. "The Day After" is a pill to themnot a movie. Their lifetime has always included AIDS. Bottle caps have not always been screw off, but have always been plastic. They have no idea what a pull top can looks like. The expression "you sound like a broken record" means nothing to them. Star Wars looks very fake to them, and the special effects are pathetic. They may never have heard of an 8-track, and chances are they've never heard or seen one. They have always had an answering machine. Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they seen a black & white TV or a TV without a remote! There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what Beta is.

15 They were born the year Walkmen were introduced by Sony. Roller-skating has always meant in-line for them. "The Tonight Show" has always been with Jay Leno. Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave. The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as WWI and WWII or even the Civil War. They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran. They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are. They don't know who Mork was, or where he was from. They never heard the terms "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel" or "De plane, de plane!" They do not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. is. The Titanic was found? I thought we always knew where it was. Michael Jackson has always been white. McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers. There has always been MTV, and it has always included non- musical shows.

16 Another cultural factor is Population Shift: The majority of housing in the US was built since Population has moved to metropolitan areas Migration to South and coasts Population has moved away from existing congregations!

17 Birth Rates: Since the pill Anglo birth rates dropping / / Mainline Anglos have a very low birth-rate due to aging populations VERY Little Biological Growth!

18 There has been significant change in our racial-ethnic population Racial ethnic composition of most neighborhoods has changed since 1960 Many congregations have little or no affinity with their neighbors

19 Racial ethnic growth must be recognized Ethnic growth: In the next 50 years the US Pop. Will grow by 50%. 90% of that growth will be people of color In 2000, Hispanics became the largest racial ethnic minority The US has the 3 rd largest Spanish speaking population By 2050 there will be no majority racial group By 2100 Hispanics will be the largest group

20 Did you know? More people of African descent live in America than any country except Nigeria More Cubans live in Miami except than in Havana In the 90s the Asian population grew by 107%, Hispanics by 38%, Native Americans by 38% while the general population grew by just 6%!

21 Racial Ethnic Birth Rates: African Am Native Am Asian Pac. I Hispanic 22.6 (Anglo 11.7) Per 1000 Most future growth will be in Racial Ethnic congregations

22 There is also a shifting attitude towards organized religion 65% of the US population cannot remember a time when clergy were respected. Denominational loyalty means nothing to most people. The average person believes that no particular religion has claim to truth.

23 Shifting attitudes towards faith

24 Since 1991 adult population in the US grew by 15%. During that same period the unchurched population grew by 92%! 75 million US adults do not attend church 'Unchurched' Americans say church is 'full of hypocrites' consider Christianity to be more about organized religion than about loving God and people, according to a new survey.

25 44 percent -- agreed that "Christians get on my nerves. But 78 percent said they would be willing to listen to someone who wanted to tell them about his or her Christian beliefs. Vast majority of young non-Christians view Christianity as anti-gay, judgmental and hypocritical. Many of those surveyed believed in God but don't feel the need to express those beliefs within a church building. Almost three-quarters percent -- agreed that God "actually exists and an even larger percentage percent -- said they believed they could have a good relationship with God without church involvement.

26 Its a Whole New World

27 21 st Century Culture and Church Post-Modern – Its a Whole New World Big Five of hallmark modern values: Anthony Robertson reason optimism universality objectivity the grand story

28 21 st Century Culture and Church Post-Modern - Modern World is crumbling Reason Where moderns wanted their preachers to explain mystery, post-moderns want to experience mystery. Optimism Post-moderns are not so sure that salvation is around the corner or that science and technology are our saviors. Universality Post-moderns revel in the local and the particular.

29 21 st Century Culture and Church Post-Modern - Modern World is crumbling Objectivity Everybody is coming from somewhere, say post- moderns. What you call objective truth, we call the interests of the powerful and privileged. the grand story Post-moderns tend to be skeptics about this big story. Small stories, particular stories, and different versions of reality appeal to the post-modern mind.

30 21 st Century Culture and Church Post-Modern – Its a Whole New World Note contrast between eras by paying attention to the popular television show Star Trek. Think about it. In the original mid-twentieth century version of Star Trek the hero was Spock, the ideal modern man, completely rational and without emotion. The crew included people of various nationalities working together for the good of humankind. The mission was objective knowledge of space which loomed as the final frontier.

31 21 st Century Culture and Church Post-Modern - Modern World is crumbling Star Trek: The Next Generation. Spock is gone, his place taken by Data, still perfectly rational but longing to be human, to experience emotion. New to the crew is Counselor Troi, a woman gifted with the ability to perceive the hidden feelings of others. The crew is more diverse than last time around, including species from other parts of the universe. The mission does not rely on human intelligence alone and the mission statement has changed. Once it was to go where no man has gone before, but now it is to go where no one has gone before.

32 21 st Century Culture and Church Post-Modern – Its a Whole New World While modernity was liberating and powerful in many ways, it was also and especially for Christianity, reductive. highly moral, but not especially spiritual modern Christianity explained miracle and mystery (away) and proposed moral values and lessons as universal truth. What was missing was spiritual connection and experience, the experience of a sacred, numinous, transcendent Other.

33 21 st Century Culture and Church Post-Modern - Modern World is crumbling In the last thirty years while interest in spirituality has been huge People felt yet church was not the best place to pursue their spiritual interests. Transformation was lacking


35 We are all at a threshold, a kairos moment: God is Still Speaking has shown that the harvest is ready. There has been a great response of people looking for a church like the United Church of Christ.

36 Evangelism in the 21st Century Missional, Relational, Conversational Missional in purpose experiential Relational in outreach cultural Conversational in witness spiritual

37 Vital Churches are Relational in Outreach Post-modern ministry is relational Bridge the gap by building relationships

38 Relational in Outreach What do you think when you hear the word…. EVANGELISM ?

39 Celtic Evangelism In The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West... Again, George Hunter writes about the difference between what he describes as the evangelism approach in Roman and Celtic Christianity.

40 Celtic Evangelism Roman Model Celtic Model Presentation Fellowship Decision Ministry and Conversation Fellowship Belief, Invitation to Commitment

41 Belonging and Believing Christianity is more caught than taught! As Professor Robin Gill observes, belonging comes before believing. For this reason, evangelism is now about helping people to belong so that they can believe.

42 Vital Churches are Relational in Outreach The days of waiting for people to come to church to welcome them are over. Instead of waiting inside, we go outside

43 Relational in Outreach I stopped wondering about how to draw younger folks into my church and started focusing on how to draw my congregation out of its building and into relationship with the world outside its doors.

44 Help me make it through the week… Seekers that come will not be asking Am I saved? How do I become a member? They will be asking… How do I make it through this week?

45 Conversational in Witness The postmodern world calls evangelists to be conversational in witness and invitation. Count conversations, ……….not conversions. More Ready than You Think, Brian McLaren

46 Conversational in Witness Buzz Marketing Evangelism One beggar telling another where there is food Come and See! Unbinding the Gospel: Real Life Evangelism Martha Grace Reese

47 Conversational in Witness Good evangelists are People who engage others in good conversation about faith, values, hope, meaning, purpose, goodness, beauty, truth, life after death. Life before death and God. Good evangelism is the process of being friendly without discrimination and influencing all of ones friends through good deeds and good conversations. Engaging in spiritual friendship will not only help others become Christians, it will help us become better Christians, who love God more than ever. Brian McLaren – More Ready Than You Think,

48 Conversational in Witness Spiritual Seekers want to talk. Holy Conversations – Richard Peace We are the ones not talking. Reverence for God – silence and service. Tell it Like it is: Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony - Lillian Daniel An unchurched world doesnt know why we do what we do.

49 Witness and Invitation UCC-Style V I T A L I T Y Tricking the church into Evangelism – Taking it back! What do you say when someone asks you about your comma? For us it means Gods not stuck. God still has more light and truth for us today. My church believes that God is still speaking to us today. It means that no matter how bad things are in my life or in the world, God is in the midst of it.

50 Are You Ready to Talk?

51 Conversational in Witness Who are conversation partners? Audiences for conversation Outsiders Become Insiders Forgetters made Rememberers Beloved Children become Belief-ful Adults Biblical Perspective on Evangelism W. Brueggemann

52 Are You Ready to Talk? Why do you love your church? What impact has knowing Jesus made in your life? What Bible text has made a difference in your life?

53 Eight Challenges Richard Peace We need to learn how to talk about Jesus We need to create spaces within which both seekers and committed Christians can explore together their spiritual journeys. We need to learn how to invite others We need to move beyond our stereotypes, fears and negative experiences of evangelism for new creative and wholistic ways of outreach.

54 Eight Challenges Richard Peace We need to heal the split evangelism and justice issues so it is a both/and and not an either /or. We need to find the energy to engage in and to sustain an outreach ministry. We need to stay open to conversion, our own conversion even as we invite others to be converted. We need to learn how to discuss all of this in non-theological terms.

55 God is still speaking, Through you and me!

56 Go Forth… into the Virtual World We seek to build Christian community online because thats where we can encounter members and potential members of our church: 1.1 billion Internet users worldwide 100 million on MySpace 70 million bloggers 34 million students on Facebook 4-8 million on SecondLife

57 Go Forth…. Into the Virtual World. In Asia, Europe and North Americaan entire generation has experienced the Internet as a means for maintaining relationships with family and friends. The Internet is a lifeline for users whose mobility is limited by disability, chronic illness or advanced age. The Internet is where we can find and engage seekers.


59 Outreach to spiritual seekers Create Virtual Community online Foster online network and relationship Provide opportunity for discussion, information, spiritual development, questions and prayers Serve as teaching tool and opportunities for congregations, conferences and national ministries V I T A L I T Y


61 Vital churches in the 21st Century Missional, Relational & Conversational Missional in purpose experiential Relational in outreach cultural Conversational in witness spiritual

62 If the Church is our product then we need... Step 1: Select a team Step 2: Know thyself- Know thy product Step 3: Know the marketplace Step 4: Be clear about your congregations strengths Step 5: Plan for desired and measurable outcome V I T A L I T Y In Five Parts

63 V I T A L I T Y

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