Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
It is my claim that evangelism has become focused on the proclamation of a message that is presumed to be an accurate expression of the biblical concept of gospel. Evangelism within the evangelical community, perceived primarily as proclamation, has become a specialized function of the church. It is too often separated not only from the normative experience of the average Christian but also from the idea of discipleship, or spiritual formation. There are possible solutions to this problem, such as more training, increased efforts at city-wide crusades, more seeker-oriented services, continuation of church planting, a stronger focus on those "gifted" to do evangelism or even the dismantling of traditional churches and the releasing of people into natural connections with non-Christian people. Although many different types of efforts at evangelism continue to take place, the effects appear to be minimal since researchers show that church attendance and affiliation with Christian faith is decreasing in the United States. I am further claiming that evangelism is properly understood as a multi-faceted expression of the reality of God's kingdom that involves human participation in God's ongoing ministry in the world and is demonstrated as an outflow of Christian spiritual formation. I will explore the practice of spiritual direction and suggest how that ancient practice provides an appropriate approach to evangelism in the emerging culture. I am proposing a book in the form of a fictional narrative in order to illustrate how the natural expression of evangelism in the form of spiritual direction might take place in the lives of people in a way that is very different from more traditional forms of evangelism. My project will address the challenges that western Christians face in evangelism in terms of both theology and practice. The story will be a narrative that is formed around the key elements of my research.
McNichols, Michael, "Exploring a New Paradigm for Evangelism in the Emerging Culture" (2006). Doctor of Ministry. 547.