One of the more interesting books that I have read in the last ten years was written by George Hunter III, professor emeritus at Asbury Theological Seminary. The fundamental premises of the book are these:
+ the Christian church, in the West, faces populations who are increasing “secular” – people with no Christian memory and who don’t even know what Christians are talking about
+ these populations are increasing “neo-barbarian” in that they lack refinement and often their lives are out of control
+ yet these populations are increasingly receptive to exploring worldview options – from Astrology to Zen Buddhism – as they search “in all the wrong places” to make sense of their lives and find their soul’s true home
+ in the face of this changing Western culture, many Western churches are in denial as they plan and do church as though next year will 1982
+ most of the Western Church leaders who are not in denial do not know how to engage the epidemic numbers of secular, postmodern, neo-barbarians outside of their churches
In light of these observations, George has this thought for us to consider: “can the ancient movement known as Celtic Christianity show us some ways forward in the 21st century?”
For those who believe that the missionary methods of St. Patrick might be helpful to their ministry, a three-hour workshop has been designed from George’s book and will be offered on these dates and at these locations:
A special feature of this workshop will be the presentation by Rev. Brian Handrich and his research on “the post-Patrick period” (450 – 650 A. D.) in which other very gifted church leaders built upon the missionary labors of St. Patrick so that the church could be well-established in Ireland and the Christian faith anchored deeply into the lives of His people. I have reviewed Brian’s outline and it looks like an outstanding presentation and I hope that you can be there to be blessed through his teaching.
A final piece of information for your reflection…Patrick and those who served with him baptized tens of thousands of converts, planted 700 churches, ordained 1,000 priests…with 30-40 of the 150 tribes becoming substantially Christian by the time of his death twenty-eight years later.
“Go to the people…live among them…learn from them…love them…start with what they know…build upon what they have.”
To register for this workshop through the New Jersey District office, or if you wanted to schedule a workshop to be held at your congregation in 2019, contact Caren Vogt at 908 233-8111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To register for this workshop online, visit the New Jersey District Event Listing.
Download a poster and bulletin insert to share with your congregation here.