We must connect with pre-Christians, disenchanted Christians, dormant Christians and lapsed Christians with the grace theology inherent to our heritage. Notice this language! Let's stop calling these people unchurched. They are not necessarily seeking institutional church relationship. They are seeking meaning for their lives, and God in their life situation.Right on, brother Haynes! People are sick of the institution formerly known as the church. It doesn't matter if people have the Apostle's Creed memorized or know how to find Philemon in the Bible. And people do not tend to make the viability of the Annual Conference's health insurance plan a top priority when seeking a relationship with the Divine. We just want to know that God loves us. Rev. Haynes says
Envision just how many persons within the focus of your eyes today are going to bed tonight not knowing that God knows, God cares, and God loves - all unconditionally. So many are driven by searching souls and suffering bodies. This is the hour of Methodism's "third awakening." We must rise with an ignited heart, a helping hand, a recovered passion for souls, a renewed energy.
Methodism was planted and has taken root in the rich theological soil of grace. God's abundant grace sneaking up on us before we even know we need it and bringing us home again, sometimes before we're even fully aware that we have strayed. Rev. Haynes describes people coming to a church where this kind of grace is flourishing.
Upon arriving, often bruised from fundamentalist judgment, visitors respond to grace theology like a kitten drinking warm milk. For persons with messed-up lives and guilt, the byproduct of Methodism's grace theology is comprehensive, holistic church growth.
Please go read the entire article at this link.
Shane Raynor and I both love this article. And yet, Shane Raynor is often on the opposite side of the theological table from me when we discuss particular issues via the blogosphere. The point is, no matter where you are, you can reach out to a neighbor in need with the compassion of Christ. This third awakening is calling on Methodists and all Christians to cease and desist from abusing one another with dogma and start loving one another unconditionally.
Remember, the point is not to save the church. The point is to save our souls.