We want to connect you with resources reflecting current thinking on the urban world. This article by Jeff Fontain from Lausanne Global Analysis (Nov. 2014, Volume 3 / Issue 6) focuses on Europe but also reflects some of the Charrette postures that we believe are necessary to see transformation in cities around the world, such as:
- diverse expressions of the church (diversity)
- engagement in and with local communities (presence)
- methods that can change or develop over time (dynamic)
Here is Fontain’s fourth challenge. The full text with all seven points can be found at the Lausanne Movement.
Europe today is experiencing serious crises in economics, politics, society, religion and the environment:
- Unemployment in Spain and Greece is as high as in America during the depression.
- Crisis has become the new norm for Europe. It will be with us for a long time.
It should reshape the missions agenda of the European churches, for these challenges also present boundless opportunities for believers to respond with care and compassion. The soft powers of love, truth and justice won the early church credibility and respect and eventually conquered the Roman Empire. They could win credibility for the church again.
Prior to the 1974 Lausanne Congress, many saw the so-called “social gospel” as a distraction from the “real gospel” of salvation. That event marked a new evangelical acceptance of holistic mission.
After all, Jesus himself talked about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and the prisoners. While we gladly claimed the anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce as “one of ours” for over a century, the evangelical sector had been rather quiet concerning public engagement. Now evangelicals across Europe are again responding – with food banks, anti-human trafficking, debt counseling, second-hand clothing stores, refugee assistance and much more.
Looking around, we should also note the different kinds of Europeans among whom we live:
- Post-Christian, post-communist, postmodern, post-migrant and post-secular Europeans each require tailored approaches. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy.
- Neither should we expect all to feel comfortable in our current expressions of church. Incarnational mission will mean entering their world, just as Jesus entered ours. That could result in many fresh expressions of church.
Photo Credit: Üdvhadsereg Salvation Army Hungary