Perhaps a nice place to re-address the question of what “evangelism” looks like and will look like in the emerging movement is to summarize the points made in Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger, Emerging Churches, chp. 6: “Welcoming the Stranger.”
Gibbs-Bolger (GB) make the following points, with ample anecdotal evidence:
GB focus on the inclusive practices of Jesus; modernity was exclusive but postmodernity is inclusive, and this has lots to do with the old “in vs. out” mentality.
GB then focus on the practices of inclusion in the emerging church movement:
1. Moving the Eucharist to the center of worship in the context of sharing meals.
2. Making hospitality a central practice rather than an ad hoc practice.
3. Turning a welcome space into a safe place.
4. Welcoming those who are different.
5. Moving from perceived arrogance to transparent humility.
6. Shifting from verbal apologetics to embodied apologetics.
7. Changing from having an agenda to letting the Spirit carry the agenda.
8. Switching from salespersons to servants.
9. Moving from changing beliefs to changing lives.
10. Moving from speaking about grace to grace speaking through lives.
11. Moving from a privatized faith to a public faith.
12. Moving from evangelizing to being evangelized.
We’re just getting started on this, but here’s another good set of categories to understand that evangelism, when defined missionally and what Bob Robinson calls an “Immanuel apologetic,” will no longer be the same.