Emerging Evangelism/Community Building Strategies

First, welcome DG and thanks for joining us here!

One of the roles I'm trying to play here is to lift up trendlines, common threads, common questions that seem to be "emerging" across what we're sharing for your further insights, comments, feedback, discussion, disputation, whatever...

And one thing I'm noticing is what I'd call more "organic" or "indirect" strategies or practices of evangelism and community building than the usual "church formatted" approaches usually are. In the usual "church format" the options seem to be personal evangelism (either the hard sell doctrinal kind, or "lifestyle" evangelism), "door to door" evangelism (often done in pairs-- which, if you think about it, might be rather unfair!) or invitation to "big events" at the church or maybe with other churches that are supposed to kind of "do the evangelism" for us. And sometimes those "big events" are concerts or sometimes even "worship-formatted evangelism" (i.e., it's really evangelism, but it comes in "worshippy" packaging).

But what I'm seeing here are at least two other evangelistic/community building strategies or practices-- theology cafe/theology pub and parties. If I've got this right, in theology cafe/pub, the idea is that a group of folks goes out to a public place (cafe or pub), sits down, discusses theological issues intensely (maybe even argumentatively?) and invites others in that space to join the dialog if they like. It's a design that's about being in a "third place" and inviting folks into a small community that cares about spiritual matters in some sort of disciplined, while also exploratory/experimental, way. Carl at Birmingham First is working with this model. The parties (Organic Group?) model that DG is describing seems to be (correct me where I'm missing parts, DG!) about holding parties in home in housing developments in the area-- and so in a "first place" really. The basic purpose is to meet people and begin to build community in homes, and then see what might evolve from there. It's sort of one step removed from (and, I'd say, several steps better than!) the "church format" of "door to door visitation."

What strategies or practices of evangelism/community building are you using or considering in the ministries where you are? What other strategies/practices are you already engaging, and what are you learning from these?

Peace in Christ,

Taylor Burton-Edwards