By that I mean that from its inception, the church has taken a strong stand on the core doctrines of Christianity’s good news (that’s literally was the evangel is — good news) such as:
* the divinity of Christ,
* the inspiration of the Scriptures,
* the reality of heaven and hell, and
* the confidence that our risen Lord is also our returning King.
Though there is currently debate on exactly who gets to use the term evangelical, historically speaking, that commitment to ancient doctrine has distinguished churches like Good Shepherd from more progressive ones.
(Irony note before I move to the point of the blog: those churches who are the least progressive on doctrine (like us) are often the most progressive on worship style, while churches who have doctrinal flexibility often have a liturgical style that was born in a much earlier era. That assertion is not true in every case, of course, but hits the mark more often than not.)
Anyway, so we are evangelical.
But we haven’t always been evangelistic. Meaning, we haven’t always been adept at mobilizing, inspiring, and equipping the people of this church to share the good news of Jesus in loving, winsome ways with folks in their sphere of influence.
We have often thought “if we have the right programs, they’ll come!” or “if it’s just the right sermon series, all kinds of not-yet-believers will show up!”
While standing on the content of the good news, we were many times hesitant to send out a gathering of good news bearers.
Yet something changed with the Defining Moments series we just completed. We exhorted. We demonstrated. We provided resources — “movie” tickets AND the DVD itself. We reminded people that they are the best good news sharers because they know their friends and neighbors as they really are. I usually get the “filtered” or “religious” versions of people.
And the results of moving from evangelical to evangelistic? Numerically shocking and deeply rewarding.
Maybe it was a defining moment for the life of this church as a whole.
Where we don’t just take a stand on the good news. We take a walk with it as well.