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Published on Jun 13, 2012
In this three-minute video, André Gingerich Stoner, director of Holistic Witness and Interchurch Relations, offers a different way of thinking about the relationships among peacemaking, evangelism, service, church planting, and justice.
André Gingerich Stoner, Director of Holistic Witness and Interchurch Relations
Peacemaking Service Seeking justice Evangelism Church Planting
These are all part of the church's calling. But sometimes—too often—these concerns are pitted against each other. Service may focus on individual needs but not address root causes. Evangelism might share Jesus, but neglect the kingdom that he taught. Most often so-called "social ministries" are pitted against so-called "spiritual ministries." "Word" is pitted against "deed."
These divisions have a long, complicated and deep history. How do we overcome them? One answer is to simply say "We need to do both—social ministry and evangelism," for example. But maybe we need to go deeper. Maybe we need to reexamine how we understand these forms of witness.
Jesus was a whole person—with hands and feet, a heart, ears, a mouth. In all he did and said, God's kingdom was breaking into our world. When we join ourselves with Jesus—the whole Jesus—it changes everything we do and say.
Our service is more than just good deeds. And while others say, "Peace through strength," we seek peace through Jesus. The good news we proclaim is about new life in the kingdom with Jesus as Lord. The justice we seek is not about rights or punishment but about restoring right relationships where all can thrive and flourish. And we don't just want to start churches with successful programs, buildings and staff. We want to help birth communities, gathered around Jesus, that are a visible sign and foretaste of the kingdom of God, that are part of God's shalom project.
Our witness becomes integrated and holistic when it is rooted in the whole Jesus and inspired and guided by the vision of God's kingdom which Jesus lived, taught and embodied.
The Holistic Witness team of Mennonite Church USA works together to support and encourage congregations, area conferences and individuals to be part of God's shalom project. We work together to help birth and strengthen communities that are gathered around Jesus and transformed by the gospel of peace, communities that are sent into the world and that invite others to new life in God's kingdom.
Jesus was a whole person. He had hands and feet, a heart, ears, a mouth. If we spend time with Jesus and let him shape us and lead us, we'll also go as whole people:
• with a listening ear of compassion, • hands of service, • feet that stand with the weak and the hurting, • a heart of forgiveness, • and words of invitation.
Let's continue to join with Jesus in holistic witness.
peace, service, justice, evangelism, church planting With which of these do I feel least comfortable? Why? How could I grow in this area?