Emerging/Emergent Trait 5: Serving with Generosity - Sept 18

Darrell L. Bock's picture

Description: This involves more of the idea of hospitality. A kingdom generosity means challenging the consumer culture of exchange. Spiritual experiences are not consumed, nor are they to be marketed. The goal is to change church members from consumers to participants. No more drive-through one hour spirituality.

Social service and activism work against this tendency. "The DNA of our spirituality is that intimacy with God comes only through involvement in society." There are not programs in the church but social service. In one community each fifth Sunday is spent on a community social project. Others reject this, simply engaging in community ministry in their inner city community. The "acts of love" that take place are genuine and unconditional, coming not as photo ops or a publicity promotion. Life is lived in the outside community, a lifestyle of service, living the good news before speaking it. The kingdom is not as much a spiritual kingdom as an alternative kingdom. "Jesus was a politician before he was a preacher or a philosopher." Evangelization is as much demonstration as it is proclamation, showing forth a holistic gospel. Topics such as poverty, sexuality, racism, and the environment are addressed as well as obedience to Christ. Faith based initiatives that have volunteers and the goodwill of communities are valued. Another emphasis is serving Christ in vocations that involve the nitty-gritty issues of urban life.

Evaluation: Once again solid values and goals are present. There is a heavy emphasis on engagement that gets to know and care about people where they are. The only note of concern is the picture of Jesus as a politician. This is overstated. Jesus was a reformer and a creator of a new community who wanted to model something fresh among those who identified with him and his calling. Jesus' social projects were not undertaken for their own interest but to make a statement about the human condition and how to impact it in a positive direction. Much of this type of outreach makes such a statement, but more clearly so when it is not put in political terms but part and parcel with the spiritual care Jesus sought.

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