Post COVID Evangelism – Participating in God’s Mission

Post COVID is the next hot topic of discussion for Churches. What will it look like? A further question is, “what could post COVID evangelism look like? Participating in God’s mission is not simply a throw- away comment but a solid theological point of view. It’s all about a missional ecclesiology.

A missional ecclesiology is very clear at presenting outreach/evangelism as something that is God’s initiative and therefore something in which the Church simply participates. A missional hermeneutic is one that views all of Scripture as a record of God’s mission to restore the whole creation through the mission of His chosen people.[1] God’s chosen people, the Church, therefore are a people who simply participate in the overall mission.

A missional hermeneutic views both the Old and New Testaments as the story of God’s overall mission of redemption and restoration.

In regard to the Old Testament, N.T. Wright encourages a missional interpretation as one that sees “the long story of Israel not merely as a backdrop, a source of prooftexts and types, rather than as itself the story of God’s saving purpose.”[2] A missional understanding of Scripture is a way of reading the text that views mission as the central focus of the whole. The mission of God in the New Testament is articulated in the book of 1 John (1 Jn 4:7-12),

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: he sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.

David Bosch argues for a missional hermeneutic when he suggests, “Mission is not primarily an activity of the church, but an attribute of God. God is a missionary God.” He goes on to say that “there is church because there is mission, not vice versa. The church must not think its role is identical to the missio dei; the church is participating in the mission of God.”[3]

Evangelism and mission could look quite different if believers saw themselves as partnering with God. In Acts 8:26-40, Phillip is instructed by an angel of the Lord to go south to the desert road. On his way he meets an Ethiopian eunuch who is sitting on his chariot reading the book of Isaiah. The Lord directs Phillip to approach the chariot. As it turns out the eunuch does not understand what he is reading and Phillip is positioned in the right place to give the eunuch some understanding. God was already at work in the eunuch’s life. Phillip simply became aware of what God was doing and then partnered with Him to explain the Scriptures to the eunuch.

One positive step that Christians could make toward a missional approach to evangelism is to encourage believers to look for opportunities where God is already at work and to partner with Him. This puts the focus on the every believer being a witness for Christ and at the same time leaves the responsibility with God to initiate and reach out to non-believers in advance.

This approach to evangelism, this partnering with God approach is very clearly articulated in a podcast interview I did with Kim Hammond who talks about church planting with this mindset.

Every Blessing,

Tina Waldrom
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[1] Michael W. Goheen, “The Mission of God’s People and Biblical Interpretation: Exploring N.T. Wright’s Missional Hermeneutic,” in Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar Meeting (San Francisco: Michael W. Goheen, 2011), 2.

[2] N.T. Wright, Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision (Downers Grove, IL: InterVaristy Press, 2009), 11.

[3] David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991), 389-392.

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