What is your position on the recent movement in churches to become mission focus and market place oriented?
As suggested in the question, there has bben a recent movement to direct evangelism and other Christian activities toward the secular marketplace (I understand ‘market place’ as somewhere in the secular domain, outside of ‘walls’ of the church). In Australia, for instance, the number of non-churched is growing and people are no longer willing to step into the church. Hence, the push is to create gospel opportunities wherever we are in the market place (workplace, schools, gym, sporting club,etc), rather than relying on the attracting people into our regular church ministries for evangelism.
My view is that churches should become more mission focussed and market placed oriented, however, not at the expense of traditional church ministries. Evangelism at church and regular ministries (e.g. men’s, women’s, children, youth, marriage, parenting, etc) form an important platform for gospel proclamation. Moreover, the church building is an extremely valuable resource for evangelistic events and ministries.
At St Paul’s, by way of example, we try to encourage and support evangelism in any form and anywhere. We’ve set up evangelistic enterprises that have mainly been involved in market-place evangelism (e.g. cocktail party in business district, coffee club at cafes, community carols, etc). However, I am in full support of all our existing attractional structures at church (e.g. youth group, play groups, children’s holiday clubs, high teas, musical events, etc) and I am always seeking to better utilize our church buildings to further evangelistic ministries.