DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Incarnational Ministry in a Pomo World

Incarnational Ministry in a Pomo World

The Incarnational ministry philosophy is one in which the idea of redemptive analogy is emphasized and prioritized in a very, very intentional way. In other words, the ministry message - the Gospel of Christ - is delivered in a manner relevant to the people living within a specific culture (e.g. Western Postmodernity), without being inherently modified or altered in any way, shape or form. The Gospel always remains the same (orthodoxy), in the face of culture shifts & changes. It’s about ministry flexibility & methodological adaptation. So, to be as effective as possible, church planters reach for the Incarnational and the redemptive analogy so as to successfully communicate the Gospel in an understandable and/or relevant fashion. An Incarnational mission seeks not to be an attractional community. The point of Incarnational ministry is not to attract & invite people out of their communities and into a separated sacred place or community of sorts, but to actually introduce them to the work of the Living God that is already unfolding all around them, in their everyday journeys. The Incarnational mission is actually an effort to help them to become redeemed participants in this sacred activity. Their participation may in-fact lead to more than a few cultural shifts and changes, as a result of the redemptive process itself, but it never intentionally advances the idea of community apart from their community. The corporate gathering then becomes a very, very necessary time of celebration (of all God is doing!) and further instruction and edification (Christian discipleship!). Incarnational ministry is experiencing a revival as of late, thanks largely to the Missional Movement arising within the Emerging Conversation. It is not, however, a brand new phenomenon. One of the clearest presentations of Christian Incarnation or Missional practice - apart from Jesus himself, who is THE redemptive analogy in flesh form - can be seen in Don Richardson’s 1962 evangelical mission to headhunting cannibals (the Sawi) in New Guinea. Richardson recounts his experiences and story of these events in the book Peace Child. Peace Child is a must read for ministers embracing a Missional or Incarnation philosophy of ministry. All of this is especially important as we prepare to take the Gospel of Christ to an unarguably postmodern culture here in the US.

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