I deeply believe that each person needs to make a personal decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I am an evangelist at heart, and I want to see each person experience the transformation that begins at conversion.
But, too often, my evangelical zeal to see individuals come to faith is divorced from the biblical reality of community. God's gospel work is the creation of the New Humanity - beginning with a new community called "The Church."
When we forget that the goal of the gospel is not simply individuals coming into right relationship with God but also in right relationship with others and with God's Creation, we truncate the gospel and it loses its power to truly transform.
Tony Jones writes,
"Millions of Individuals 'inviting Jesus Christ into their hearts as their personal savior' at megachurches and Billy Graham crusades has done little to stem the moral dissolution in America. And ironically, it's the very individualism engendered by evangelicalism that has resulted in this predicament. The primary emphasis of evangelicalism is the conversion of the individual, but that emphasis has also handicapped evangelicals in their attempts to tackle systemic issues like racism and poverty and thus has left them open to manipulation by political forces." (The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier, p. 13)
technorati: emerging church, missional, missional community