Ecumenical insights on Evangelism

I never thought I would write that the Ecumenical Movement can give insights on Evangelism! We Evangelicals are the experts on Evangelism; in fact we are defined by it. But this document, Together Towards Life, I am finding a gold mine of insights that challenge and inform me.

In my teaching I am constantly trying to show that Church and Mission go together. This means also that theology and mission go together. The Church in it thinking (theology), if it does not have mission as its starting point and aim, is an academic exercise.The church without mission does not make sense.

Below is a couple of points from that document

The church in history has not always existed but, both theologically and empirically, came into being for the sake of mission. It is not possible to separate church and mission in terms of their origin or purpose. To fulfill God’s missionary purpose is the church’s aim. The relationship between church and mission is very intimate because the same Spirit of Christ who empowers the church in mission is also the life of the church. At the same time as he sent the church into the world, Jesus Christ breathed the Holy Spirit into the church (John 20:19-23). Therefore, the church exists by mission, just as fire exists by burning. If it does not engage in mission, it ceases to be church.

Starting with God’s mission leads to an ecclesiological approach “from below.” In this perspective it is not the church that has a mission but rather the mission that has a church. Mission is not a project of expanding churches but of the church embodying God’s salvation in this world. Out of this follows a dynamic understanding of the apostolicity of the church: apostolicity is not only safeguarding the faith of the church through the ages but also participating in the apostolate. Thus the churches mainly and foremost need to be missionary churches. (para 57-58)

How do our churches match up?