Missional Field Notes

Quotes, Examples, and Ideas from My Missional Frontier

Jonathan Davis, over at Small Town Churches Network, wrote about four emerging trends in small town churches. I was taken with his fourth trend: “Small-Town Churches Will Increasingly Embrace A More Holistic Gospel.” This is what he writes:

One of the main reasons for tension concerning Emergence Christianity is competing definitions of the gospel. It may be true that “many of us grew up in a world where you talked about either salvation or social justice” but it seems many new leaders are saying “you no longer have to choose.” Small town churches then, may become emerging congregations through simply breaking modernity’s trend of holding an eschatological (eternity focused) gospel and an incarnational (hands & feet focused) gospel in polarization. The church should ideally embrace both equally.

While many churches are “discovering” the incarnational side of this, I’ve been there for a long time. And, I would argue, the United Methodist Church has been there as well. Our challenge seems to be keeping the eschatological side of this before us. If we don’t then we’re just a bunch of nice people doing nice things. This is where I’ve found Scot McKnight’s “kingdom” language helpful But I think Davis is right in saying that the goal is a more holistic approach

2 thoughts on “A Holistic Gospel

  1. Thanks for reading, Jim, and for the great dialogue! Balancing our approach to the Gospel is always a challenge. I’ve served on staff, as has my wife, at multiple UMC congregations. We have found challenges to living out the Gospel holistically in nearly every context we’ve served, even across denominational lines. Blessings to you, as you strive for this important balance in your own ministry.

    1. jimdoepken says:

      Sometimes, in our systems, it’s the “across denominational lines” that is problematic. Even though we have have ecumenism in our DNA, we also have territorialism in it as well. Glad you found your way here. Oh, and thanks for all you do for the Kingdom of God.

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