Thursday, 27 December 2012

Sermon Notes On Revelation

What to do with those days between Christmas and New Year?  Tart up the blog a bit and stick a few more sermon notes up on Scribd.

Back in 2002 I did the bible studies at the Baptist Assembly.  The theme of the assembly was Jesus in Widescreen.  The studies were on Jesus in the Book of Revelation.

As per usual the reason for making them available is that I have been asked for copies of the notes.

Here are the links: 

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Let's Hear It For Materialism At Christmas!

 Sometimes I reckon we Christians are just a bit too po-faced in our celebration of Christmas.  Too restrained. Overly refined.  Way too whispy.  We spend so long slagging off commercialism and excess that we forget that Christmas is the feast of materialism.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Missional Ecclesiology Article and Sermons on Luke

 I've just uploaded some new stuff to Scribd. I do this form time when people ask me for copies of notes from lectures, sermons etc.  The first piece is an article on Missional Ecclesiology raising some questions about the theology and practice of missional church practitioners.  This first saw light as a lecture to a group of European Baptist theology teachers in the Ukraine back in July 2012.  It had a reincarnation as part of our 1st Tuesday series of public lectures at Luther King House in November 2012. The version here was published in the Journal of European Baptist Studies (Volume 13, Number 2).  I am grateful to the editorial board for permission to publish it in this format.

There are also notes from three sermons on Luke 4 originally preached at the Baptist Assembly in Scotland in October 21012.  The first is entitled What's He Up To? and looks at Jesus' own sense of mission; the second is entitled Which Side Is He On? and deals with Luke's presentation of Jesus' boundary busting approach to mission; number three, Who's The Daddy?, is a reminder that our participation in the ongoing mission of Jesus must include pointing to him as Son of God.  If you want you can also get an audio file of each sermon over at the Baptist Assembly in Scotland web site.

Finally there are notes for a sermon on the preaching of John the Baptist in Luke chapter three.  The sermon was preached at Luther King House chapel on December 11th, 2012.

I know this looks like nothing more than shameless self promotion which is not the case.  It is of course at least in part a bit of brass-necked-look-at-me-ism (which blog isn't?) but it is more than that, honest.  I only stick up here stuff that people seem to have appreciated.  Generally it's also stuff for which I've received requests for notes.  So really it's better to think of what I'm doing as selfless public service.

There's more than a small chance that the sermon notes won't be of much use to those who didn't hear the original.  They tend to be a bit on the sparse side, fleshed out for publication somewhat from what I actually take into the pulpit with me but nonetheless well short of a full script (apart that is for the third of the Luke 4 sermon notes which for some mysterious reason ended as the fullest notes I think I've ever used.)

Anyhow if you think they might of help click the links above or head to Scribd via the box in the side bar to the right and down a bit. If you dont' think they'll be any help you've probably stopped reading by now.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

What's Wrong With Preaching

Thought I'd pop along and try another post.  You know, just to see if I've still go it in me.  So here I am and my, it's dusty in here! 

Anyhow, about preaching …

I'm in the middle of teaching a final year undergrad course on preaching.  I'm also prepping a new Master's level module in the same subject.  So, naturally, I've been thinking quite a bit about preaching.  Here's what I thought …

Monday, 22 October 2012

Missional Church Lecture

Here's what I'm doing on Tuesday November 6th.  You can come if you want to.  You can also tell others who might want to come.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Reading The Bible After Christendom

I'm promoting this cos I've been asked to.  And because it's going to be really good.  You should book in.  And then turn up.  You'll be glad you did.

Preaching and Dialogue

Just stuck some more notes up on my scribd page.  I lead a session on preaching and dialogue at recent Luther King House conference for lay preachers and worship leaders.  There's a PowerPoint presentation (minus the video clips) and my own notes.  They are only, as usual, in outline form but they might be of interest.  You can go get em from the side bar.  Over there, on the right, then down a bit.  Or, just go back and click the link!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Believing in Belonging: Belief and Social Identity in The Modern World

Day, A. (2011). Believing in Belonging: Belief and Social Identity in The Modern World.  Oxford: Oxford University Press

This fascinating monograph explores the nature of believing in modern Euro-American societies.  It is based on the author’s post-doctoral research at Lancaster University and builds on her PhD thesis, a case study centred on the Yorkshire town of Skipton.

Day set herself the challenge of exploring belief by asking open questions that did not presuppose that answers would be offered in relation to religious categories.  So, for example, What do you believe in? and, What or who is most important to you in your life?  She then compared her findings with related studies from around the world.  The research is well designed and the results significant.

The main finding is summed up in the title: people believe in belonging.  To say they believe is to engage in identity building by claiming belonging – to Christianity (even if they don’t believe in God) to family (on condition that they get to decide who qualifies as family) and to friends (with whom they work out their problems and their opinions).

Unsurprisingly then Day suggests that Grace Davie’s influential argument that people in Britain today believe but don’t like to belong misses the mark.  People may not choose to participate in the activities of organised, institutional religion but this does not mean that belonging is unimportant.  On the contrary, for most people believing is profoundly relational.  People believe because they belong and in order to reinforce belonging.

This believing in belonging is found to apply to those (the great majority) for whom believing is anthropocentric, that is those who articulate their beliefs primarily in reference to their human relationships.  It also applies to those for whom believing is theocentric in that they cite God and their relationship with God as central to their lives.  This observation leads to an interesting and nuanced exploration of the phenomenon of Christian nominalism.

Day offers us a rich picture of what it is to believe and in the light of her research suggests that we consider seven dimensions of the phenomenon: content, what people believe; sources, where beliefs originate; practice, whether and how belief informs behavior; salience, the importance people attribute to their beliefs; function, the role of beliefs in people’s lives; place the relationship between belief and location whether public or private, geographic or social and time, the fluidity or fixity of beliefs in relation to passing time and specific times.  As an interpretive framework this scheme would seem to have real potential.

Much more could be said about what this book has to offer; there is a Foucault inspired archeology of the concept of belief in the fields of  sociology and anthropology; there are interesting observations on the way people limit moral obligations to those to whom they belong and the significance for many of ongoing relationships with the dead; there’s an investigation of young people and belief, of believing in fate and of the “othering” of women, non-Christian religions and “Asians” as those responsible for moral decline.  All this in two hundred pages.

I have long thought that missiologists don’t pay nearly enough careful attention to the work of sociologists of religion – Duncan McLaren’s Mission Implausible was a notable exception, now sadly out of print.  Abby Day writes as an academic sociologist and an active researcher.  Her findings are a helpful contribution to the sociology of secularisation; they open an intriguing window into believing in Britain today.  Believing in Belonging makes instructive reading, to say the least for those us concerned that our compatriots might come to belong to the company of those who believe in Jesus.

This review was originally written for Regent's Reviews and is reproduced here with permission of the editor.  Check out the web site to get a free pdf of a whole bunch of reviews. 

Monday, 30 April 2012

Happy 65th Birthday To Paul Fiddes

Together with others I would like to wish Professor Paul Fiddes a happy 65th birthday.  Unlike some of my fellow Baptist bloggers my own personal contact with Paul has been limited and rather intermittent.  My loss.   

Paul reminds me of one of my school friends, Martyn Moxon. I used to play cricket with Martyn.  I took a few wickets in the Barnsley schools league.  He went on to captain Yorkshire and play for England.  Thing about Martyn was he was so good he could afford to be modest.  Same goes for Paul.

In the spirit of this particular festblog here's a couple of quotes from Paul's Past Event And Present Salvation, the first of his books to find its way across my desk and deep into my head.
In creation God gives freedom to something over against himself; he limits himself by the freedom of others, his creatures, and becomes vulnerable to their decisions.  In the very act of creation then, he must preserve it from wilfully drifting away into nothingness and the void.  From the act of creation onwards he faces the tragedy of death, and seeks to win his own creatures into free and joyous fellowship with himself. (22)
Since he has identified himself with Jesus in both act and being, we may say that the Father himself embarks upon the agonising journey of discovery that forgiveness entails.  Far from simply forgetting about the sins of the world he journeys deeply into the heart of the human tragedy.  It is as if the Father is not content to go out on the road to await the return of the prodigal son, but actually takes the path into the far country to fetch the wayward son from the pigsty. (178)
Past Event And Present Salvation (1989) London: Darton, Longman and Todd

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Longing For Home - Review

Buechner Frederick, The Longing For Home, Harper Collins, 1996, 180pp.

I've decided to stick a few book reviews up on the blog.  Some of them were written a while ago.  
The Longing For Home is the kind of Christian book that only America seems to produce.  Would that we had an Annie Dillard or a Eugene Peterson. 

If I tell you that this is a collection of essays, meditations, poems and mini, sermon-type, reflections, it will probably put you off.  Don’t let it, please.  This is a book to do your soul good.  Deeply personal and acutely spiritual, it will move your heart and open your eyes.

The Author, Frederick Buechner (pronounced Beekner), is a Presbyterian Minister in his 70’s.  Taking as his theme the concept of home, the home that we remember and the home to which we are heading, he explores issues of family relationships, the inner-connections of community life, death, birth, the spirituality of creation, grace, hope, faith and love. 

Inevitably with such a collection some pieces have more merit than others but the overall standard is very high.  At times you can detect the odd bit of desperate editorial work to make previously existing, independent pieces fit into the theme but that’s the most minor of irritations.

I read the book in two sittings while on holiday.  I plan to read it again - for the sake of my soul.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Mission Implausible - Book Review

I've decided to stick a few book reviews up on the blog.  Some of them were written a while ago.  This one relates to a book that is now sadly out of print.  Shame.  It's a good 'un.  Still might be possible to pick one up second hand.  Anyhow, here's the review.

Duncan MacLaren, Mission Implausible: Restoring Credibility to the Church (Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, 2004)

The latest edition of Religious Trends from Peter Brierley’s organisation, Christian Research, catalogues the ongoing, dismal decline of the UK church.  Brierley predicts that if current trends continue 1.3 million (net) members will leave between the years 2000 and 2020, a loss of 23%.  This is the context for Duncan MacLaren’s very helpful contribution to the growing literature on mission in western societies.   Specifically he offers insights from The Sociology of Knowledge a field pioneered in the 60’s and 70’s by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman.  His hope is to discover strategies that the church might adopt to recover credibility for itself and its message.

MacLaren is sympathetic to Grace Davie’s contention that the dramatic decline of the fortunes of Christianity in Europe is something of an oddity when compared to the remarkable resilience of religion elsewhere.  In accounting for this decline  he allows for influences arising from the history of ideas since the enlightenment.  However, more weight is given to sociological factors.  Here MacLaren lines up with classic secularisation theorists such as Bryan Wilson and Steve Bruce, attributing the decline of the church to the inhospitality of modernity (at least in its European form) towards institutional Christianity.  His analysis of the impact of such issues as urbanisation, industrialisation, and privatisation covers familiar ground with commendable clarity and lightness of touch.  Similarly we are offered a very useful introduction to Berger’s notion of plausibility structures – those aspects of any given society that bolster the credibility of  certain beliefs. 

Next, Maclaren identifies various forms of religion that seem to buck the secularisation trend.  For instance sectarian forms of religion such as Pentecostalism or the latent religion associated with high profile tragedies such as the death Diana.  He then goes on to suggest various reasons for such resilience.  This thinking is cashed out in terms of five “imperatives for practical action for restoring credibility to the church”.  Very stimulating stuff this.

With echoes of Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture we then get MacLaren’s consideration of the positioning of the church viz a viz the rest of society.  He identifies three promising strategies: tension (the sectarian option which maximises internal coherence and maintains distinctives); momentum (making the most of favourable societal trends by going with the flow) and the middle way of significance (engaging in public issues in ways that maximise the visibility of the church).  The suggestion is that a missionary-minded church needs to find ways of simultaneously becoming distinctive, inculturated and engaged.  Interesting, but I wasn’t entirely convinced by the suggestion that the Columban mission of the Celtic church is an example of how this might be achieved.

All in all I found Mission Implausible a very helpful and worthwhile read; so much so that I now use it as one of the core text-books for my course on Mission In Contemporary Britain.  Its value lies in the combination of sociology and missiology.  While there is little here that is brand new, MacLaren is a well-informed and reliable guide to both fields and his handling of the conversation between the two is very stimulating.

The Ethics of Evangelism - A Review

Thiessen, E. (2011). The Ethics of Evangelism: A Philosophical Defence of Ethical Proselytising and Persuasion. Milton Keynes: Paternoster.

Thank God someone is addressing this issue.  The very fact that so little has been written on the theme of the ethics of evangelism is itself an indication that we’ve got evangelism wrong.  The first priority of evangelism is to bear faithful witness, to communicate the message of Christ in a Christlike way; our primary concern is not results, success, effectiveness.  When we get these priorities wrong evangelism itself gets screwed up.

What we have in The Ethics of Evangelism is a careful and thorough if at times rather plodding attempt to address those critics who claim that proselytising is inherently unethical, that it is, among other things, disrespectful to seek to persuade people to convert.  The author is convinced of two things: that too often evangelism is in fact unethical and that it absolutely need not be.  It is desirable to seek conversions and it is possible to do so in an ethical way.

After a careful definition of terms Thiessen offers us a survey of motivations for proselytising followed by a reflection on the reasons why evangelism has become an increasingly controversial activity.  We are then given a number of examples of unethical proselytising before the author draws on the likes of Kant, Kung, Rorty and Rawls in an attempt to inform an approach to constructing a pragmatic ethic of proselytising.  Thiessen hopes this approach will win respect from people of all faiths and those of no faith – a bit optimistic this, I reckon.

The next section seeks to refute a range of objections to proselytising.  Thiessen takes on issues of epistemology, freedom, integrity, the individual and social nature of human being along with a range of broadly liberal misapprehensions as a way of clearing the ground for a set of positive proposals.  It is these proposals, a list of fifteen criteria for evaluating proselytising, that are the heart of the book and probably the most useful section for those engaged in evangelism including church leaders seeking to encourage their own congregations.

The book has many strengths.  I appreciate the exposure of special pleading and question-begging on the part of some critics of evangelism and the discussions of persuasion and interfaith dialogue were especially helpful.  Thiessen’s critique is consistently even-handed and carefully nuanced.  However, I am not convinced that The Ethics of Evangelism will have the impact that I would like it to have.  Unfortunately the style is hardly gripping and it falls between the stools of a genuinely rigorous academic treatment of the subject and one that seeks to have a broader appeal. 

Despite these reservations I welcome this book enthusiastically,  I hope that it will receive a wide readership, not least amongst church leaders.  I am convinced that the evangelistic malaise that has descended on our churches is due in no small measure to a loss of nerve on the part of Christians who are not comfortable with the very idea of evangelism let alone some of the approaches that were once popular.  We need to expose and eschew deceptive, manipulative, high pressure techniques and recover confidence in speaking of Christ in a Christlike way.  May this book help us along the way.

This review was originally written for Regent's Reviews and is reproduced here with permission of the editor.  Check out the web site to get a free pdf of a whole bunch of reviews. 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Rowan Williams At His Best?

Lots has been written about the decision of the AB of C to hang up his crozier in time for a nice quiet Christmas in Cambridge.  I liked best of all the reminder from Skinny Fairtrade Latte about this modest little episode that speaks volumes.

A child had asked her father the ultimate question - who invented God.  It seems a letter was sent to various religious bigwigs, and the archbish replied thus:

Saturday, 10 March 2012

NBLC 2013 and Beyond - A Consultation

The Northern Baptist Learning Community (where I work) is consulting about it's future.  We are interested in hearing from Baptists in the North of England and the Midlands.  Here's the blog where youcan join in the conversation.  Please spread the word.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Baptist Future

Baptists in Great Britain are celebrating the movement's 400th anniversary this year.  They are also wondering and talking about the future.  Part of this is an online conversation about Baptist life "Beyond 400".  40 voices have been invited to contribute a discussion starter.  My warblings are now up on the Beyond 400 site.  Go read it here.  Or not.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

James K. A. Smith's Open Letter to Praise Bands

I like James K.A. Smith.  His, Who's Afraid of Postmodernism: Taking Derrida, Lyotard and Foucault to church is a lot better informed and a lot more clearly expressed than most books on Christianity and Postmodernism/ity.  (I guess at this point a thank you to Sean the Baptist for introducing me to Smith is in order.)  You can follow Smith's musings over at forsclavigera

Recently he's published an open letter to praise bands.  If you accept his premises about the nature of Christian worship, and I'm inclined to, then his conclusions are spot on.  And yet .. I can't help wondering if there isn't just a small sprinkling of the crusty old reactionary in his musings. 

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston is dead.  You can't possibly have failed to notice.  However, you probably weren't aware that my friend was bemused and irritated by the blanket news coverage.  J pointed out that an earthquake in the Philipines killed forty-odd people last weekend but registered little more than the faintest of blips on the news radar.  "What is happening to our priorities?"

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Preaching As Event

Did a session with our ministerial students this week as part of a six session look at preaching.  People seemed to find my handout helpful so thought I'd stick up here.

Preaching As Event

The preacher, then, understands the sermon not as a bulletin board that posts information about God, world and church, but as an event.  (Roland J. Allen)

A musical score is not music; it becomes music when it is performed.  Likewise a sermon does not exist other than in the preaching.  Neither a manuscript nor an outline is a sermon; neither a transcript nor a recording is a sermon.  Preaching is performance, it is event.

Too many sermons are a report of an event that happened in the study earlier in the week rather than a live event, happening now, “Before your very ears.”

1. Take Yourself Seriously (But Not Too Seriously)

You lose eventfulness in preaching when you become impersonal.

NB the profoundly interpersonal nature of preaching: a personal God through the person of the preacher to persons in the congregation.

NB appropriate vulnerability.  The invulnerable is not only inhuman, it also quickly becomes uninteresting.

2. Take The Congregation Seriously

You lose the eventfulness of preaching when you fail to dialogue.

You are not talking about a subject, you are talking to (with) a congregation.

“… preaching that is ‘living-room rather than ‘classroom’, inviting dialogue rather than delivering dogma, conversing with ‘each one’ rather than addressing “you all” is the better way in this oral/aural/visual event called a sermon.” (Martyn D. Atkins)

What does it mean for the sermon to be dialogical?  In what ways can we encourage dialogue? 

3. Take Time Seriously

You lose eventfulness when you forget that sermons take place in time.

Sermons unfold as they happen, they are events in time.  Being predictable can rob the sermon of eventfulness.  Remember the value of narrative tension.

4. Take The Medium Seriously

You lose eventfulness when you forget that preaching is an oral/aural phenomenon.

“To a greater or lesser degree, preaching theories have generally recognised the historic revelation and the contemporary situation as essential to the sermon.  But the recognition of preaching as word-event, and particularly as an acoustic event, has been much slower in coming.”  (Clyde E. Fant)

5. Take The Outcome Seriously

You lose eventfulness when nothing is at stake.

This not an event for the sake of eventfulness.

There should always be a “so what”.  What do you want the sermon to do?

6. Take God Seriously

You lose eventfulness when God is not involved.

Preaching is eventful discourse, and that eventfulness is the doing of God.  There’s more to the preaching event than homiletical technology.

7. Take The Scriptures Seriously

You lose eventfulness when you are confined to the now.

We are to be contextually engaged but not contextually contained.  The scriptures become the means of hearing the voice of God from beyond our context.

“Preaching brings the Scriptures forward as a living voice in the congregation.  Biblical texts have a future as well as a past, and preaching seeks to fulfil that future by continuing the conversation of the text into the present.” (Fred B. Craddock)

An Important Qualification - Take The Sequence Seriously

The sermon is meant to be eventful but preaching is not a one off event.

The impact and value of a preaching ministry is cumulative.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Man Up For Pete's Sake

Apparently there's a crisis of masculinity.  Apparently we need to rediscover how to be men.  Apparently there's a particular need to learn what it means to be a Christian man.  Mmmm...

As one who finds it hard to raise much interest in this stuff, one who is positively turned off by organised chapathons I must confess to not paying much attention.  Occasionally though the odd OTT nutty roaring muscles its way into my attention and from time to time I come across an article or blog post that seems worthy of note.  All of which is a very long winded way of saying that I think that this from Mark Sayers is worth a read.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Mark Driscoll

I know this is a few days late but I've decided to post something about Mark Driscoll.  (Come to think of it in some ways it's a few months late, and in other ways a few years late.)  The reason I'm so tardy is that I've been successively composing and trashing a whole series of posts.  (Good to see that the old Holy Spirit filter isn't entirely shot full holes.)  Anyhow, I've finally come up with something that I believe to be true, that genuinely expresses what I feel and that I'm prepared let out. 

Northern Baptist Theological Consultation

We are holding another theological consultation for Baptists in the North of England.  The idea is to stimulate conversation and encourage research (formal and informal) within the denomination in our bit of the country.

This year's event will be held from 10.00 until 3.30 on March 29th at The Blackley Centre in Elland just two minutes off the M62.  Come and listen.  Come and discuss.  Come and present your ideas.

Dr. Pat Took will give the keynote address. If you would like to present a short paper (20 minutes) on any area of theological interest please send a title and a 100 word abstract to Dr. Anne Philips at: Northern Baptist Learning Community, Brighton Grove, Rusholme, Manchester, M14 5JP.

The cost of the day is £25.00.  Please pay in advance sending a cheque (payable to Northern Baptist Theological Consultation) to Dr Sally Nelson at: 4 Station View, Church Fenton, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire LS24 9QY by 10 March please.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Church Family?

Warning!  This one's a bit Baptisty.

I find it hard to get too worked up about the wavelet of conversation about the language of church family or Baptist family currently swashing around the Baptist blogosphere.  Just worked up enough to have a bit of a blog myself.

Seems to me that family language became popular to emphasise the relational aspect of church.  This was part of the whole cuddlyfying process that was a much welcome dimension of the charismatic movement per se and the wider informalising of culture of which the movement was a manifestation.  As such it was part of the reaction against an overly formal expression of church life.  The use of family language helped to contribute to toning down the institutional feel of church that many of us encountered when getting involved for the first time in the 60's / 70's. 

Thing is though no one image can do everything.  Each metaphor runs the risk bringing unwelcome and unintended connotations to the table. That's in the very nature of metaphors, they are allusive, evocative not definitive.  

Some advocate speaking of the Baptist movement rather than family.  I can see why this might be attractive at a time when we wish to emphasise the missional nature of church and further downplay its institutional life.  But movement language might run the risk of de-emphasising the relational dimension of church life. 

We oughtn't to imagine that by switching metaphors we will somehow get it right.  I reckon that if we are to bespeak the (ideally) rich reality of church we need to deploy a range of metaphors.  By all means let's stir up the language, keep it fresh, use it to finesse our meaning and to promote our political priorities but let's not thin it out.  By all means emphasise movement but let's not stop aspiring to become family at its best.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Do I Hear An Amen?

Do I hear an Amen

Nope?  Thought not.  Saying Amen was once the only opportunity (hymn singing apart) that free church congregations had to join in with worship.  Now, it seems, this little Hebrew liturgical fragment is going the way of house sparrows, milkmen and phone boxes. And we are left to mumble and stumble our way through services like a bunch of sullen teenagers with p.m.t.

This bugs me.  I know it shouldn't but it does, bugs me bad.  So much so that more than once I've considered printing little cards with AMEN in big bold letters, handing them out to the congregation before the service and asking everyone to read from the card when prompted.  Do you think that would help? No?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Seminar on Evangelism at Luther King House

Here's some details of a day long seminar that I'm leading on the subject evangelism as part of the series of "Church Saturdays" here at Luther-King House.  If you are in the Manchester area and fancy joining in a conversation about how we understand and undertake evangelism why not join us?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Evangelistic Fragment Five: Faithful and Distinctive

(The fifth of an as yet undetermined number of thoughtlets on evangelism that have dribbled out of my brain, down my arm and through the keyboard.   Mainly because I'm preparing to teach an MA module on evangelism.)

The previous fragment spoke of evangelism in three modes: being doing and saying.  All three modes depend upon the maintenance of a distinctive identity, distinctive practices and a distinctive message.  No distinctiveness, no news. 

Monday, 2 January 2012

Evangelistic Fragment Four: Communicating The Gospel In Three Modes

 (The fourth of an as yet undetermined number of thoughtlets on evangelism that have dribbled out of my brain, down my arm and through the keyboard.   Mainly because I'm preparing to teach an MA module on evangelism.)

When I describe evangelism as that aspect of mission that is concerned with communicating the gospel I have in mind far more than talking. 

Communicating good new should happen in three modes – being (how we are), doing (what we get up to) and speaking (what we have to say).  We need to be present, we need to be active and we need to be articulate or, if you prefer, we witness as we embody, enact and express the gospel. 

All three modes of communication are necessary: being alone is too passive, doing alone is too ambiguous and speaking alone is too facile.