Preaching and missional engagement : indwelling the Word, performing the Word, engaging the World
This project is an appreciative inquiry of a homiletical method that involves interiorizing Scripture for performance as it’s offered at Pillar Church leading to increased missional engagement within the congregation. Through conversations with members of the Pillar congregation, as well as reflections from other pastors who practice a similar homiletical method, there is evidence that this homiletical method influences congregational missional engagement. The process is long and requires patience, but the stories suggest there is a connection.
As this project unfolds, I do hope to demonstrate through the lives of some of the participants in Pillar’s life and worship that there is a relationship between indwelling the Word for the sermon and a congregation’s missional life. I intend to offer a homiletical vision rooted in the missionary work of Leslie Newbigin, and the pastoral work of Eugene Peterson. This vision is demonstrated in the church’s first sermon by the Apostle Peter at Pentecost. A homiletical vision that calls the preacher to indwell the story of God as it is given in Scripture and offered to the people of God such that the missional engagement of a congregation increases. I intend to offer a homiletical method congruent with this vision that engages Newbigin’s notion of indwelling the word and Peterson’s notion of the pastoral ministry. In this way it will bring into conversation two leading voices in different sectors of the Western church today who are often not recognized as calling the church to a similar vision. A consequent contribution of this project will be to identify and introduce a theological paradigm operative in both Newbigin and Peterson that neither clearly articulate as a pattern. That is, God’s revelation is the necessary starting point for the developing of a plausibility structure for the gospel which requires the Christian to indwell Scripture to enter that plausibility structure in order to act in unbroken continuity with the heart and message of the gospel if the church is going to engage its context in mission. In other words, for both Newbigin and Peterson, revelation is the starting point which creates a plausibility structure that is entered by indwelling Scripture in order to act in faithful and fruitful witness to Jesus Christ in the world.