What is the missional church?

9Marks
The basic premise of the missional church is that mission is the very essence of the church. This is a larger claim than saying that every individual member of the church is a missionary: it is a claim that the church itself is a sign, a foretaste, an instrument, and an agent of God’s kingdom reign on earth.

Does the emerging church get the gospel right?

9Marks
The short answer is that some individuals identifying themselves as “emerging” get the gospel right and some don’t. And often it’s not easy to tell whether someone has “crossed the line” and denied the gospel. Some individuals affirm the right things but emphasize the wrong things. Others affirm the right things but entirely redefine them. Still others affirm parts of the truth and say nothing about the rest of the truth.

Is the main point of the gospel the transformation of culture?

9Marks
Absolutely not. The main point of the gospel is the forgiveness of sins through the death of Christ (Luke 24:47).  One promise of God that is bound up with the gospel is that one day God will graciously re-create a new earth in which his people will dwell with him in perfect harmony (Rom. 18-25; Rev. 21:1-22:5). So, one day there will be a totally transformed culture, composed entirely of God’s perfected people dwelling in a new earth.

Why are so many church leaders today talking about contextualization?

9Marks
A lot of people today are talking about contextualization because it’s a fancy way to justify targeting the subset of the population they like best. Some people argue that we have to “contextualize” the gospel and the church into punk rock culture, or elite urban culture, or artsy hipster culture, or rich suburban culture in order to reach such groups of people.

Must evangelism always be accompanied by social action?

9Marks

No. But…

How can a pastor develop a church’s corporate evangelistic witness?

9Marks
Preach expositionally. As your people hear God’s word every week they will increasingly reflect his glory to the world. Week by week their lives will become a more focused picture of their savior, Jesus Christ. Preach the gospel every week. As your people hear the gospel every week they will grow in their appreciation for it, their understanding of it, and their ability to share it with others.

What is the connection between an individual’s evangelism and his or her church’s corporate witness?

9Marks

A church’s corporate witness will either enhance or undermine an individual’s evangelism.

Why should we evangelize?

9Marks
Desire to be obedient. Jesus commands his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). Peter says to all Christians, “Be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet. 3:15, NIV). Peter says this to explain how we are to “set apart Christ as Lord,” that is, how we are to obey him. We should evangelize because God commands it.

What are the dangers of being too contextualized?

9Marks
Compromising our witness to the gospel. One danger of being too contextualized is that in attempting to adapt to cultural practices of those around us we adapt our way into sin or untruth and so compromise our witness to the gospel. Losing the sharp edges of the gospel. If we focus too much on making our message relevant, or appealing, or palatable to non-Christians, we may be tempted to adjust the gospel at those points where it is most offensive.

What should we do after we evangelize?

9Marks

That depends mainly on your hearer’s response. Here are some responses you might encounter.

How can you tell the difference between legitimate contextualization and unbiblical compromise?

9Marks

The best rule of thumb in determining what’s biblical contextualization and what’s unbiblical compromise is the question: Does this make the offense of the gospel clearer? If so, it’s biblical contextualization. If not, it’s unbiblical compromise.

What are some practical guidelines for evangelizing well?

9Marks
Pray. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). Salvation is God’s work, so we should ask him to do it. Ask questions and provoke self-reflection. Ask good questions that provoke people to reflect on their lives, their beliefs, and the claims you’re making. And then listen to their answers! It will help you better understand them and their concerns.

How do we contextualize biblically?

9Marks
Give up your rights. The apostle Paul had the right to eat meat, to take along a believing wife, and to receive financial support. Yet he gave up these rights in order not to put any obstacle in the way of the gospel (1 Cor. 9:4-18). We, too, should be prepared to give up any rights if using them would offend those we are trying to evangelize.

What are some examples of bad evangelistic practices?

9Marks
Failure to share the gospel at all. Because evangelism is sharing the gospel, the main way to go wrong is to fail to tell the message at all. Sometimes people who are doing social work think that by caring for the poor or helping the oppressed they’re “sharing the gospel without words.” They’re not. They may be doing wonderfully kind and selfless things for others, but evangelism means telling others the message about Christ.

Why are so many people today talking about contextualization?

9Marks