In early Christianity the news of resurrection traveled by word of mouth as varied witnesses gave testimony to their experience. Hence, the evangelism of the Roman Empire required four centuries according to historian Glenn Hinson. Think of all the ways the Gospel was communicated: gathering in the upper room; walking with strangers on the way to Emmaus; encountering an Ethiopian on the road to Gaza; witnessing before the Council; scattering of persecuted apostles; sailing the Mediterranean; birthing house churches; writing epistles; healing in the name of Jesus; and many other events recounted in the Acts of the Apostles. In Hinson’s words, “it wasn’t revivals or eloquent preachers that most influenced pagan society but everyday Christians doing everyday evangelism.” And, of course, the Scriptures proved foundational as the literary deposit of this witness.
This coming week Central will host a conference on “The Church in the Virtual Age.” In this conference on technology and ministry, we will consider how the Gospel can be shared in our day. Dr. Ryan Bolger, Associate Professor of Church in Contemporary Culture, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, will offer three presentations:
· Following God in a Facebook Age
· Being the Church in a Virtual Age
· Living in a Participatory Culture
Congregational leaders and seminarians will examine how to integrate technology even more into contemporary proclamation of the Gospel. What remarkable tools there are to share the great glad news that Christ is Risen! In our day, surely the Gospel can be proclaimed “to the ends of the earth.” While the earlier methods of “everyday evangelism” must not be abandoned, adding networked capacity to the Great Commission is imperative. Although sometimes considered the resident Luddite at Central in my technological prowess, I know the power of finding creative ways of communicating. Even more I know the power of the message we proclaim. Alleluia!
Molly T. Marshall
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