Retelling the Gospel with Relevance Through Ordinary Lives by Sandra Reimer
“Christendom used to be the ocean of the landscape in Canada, now it is puddles and pools,” says pastor, and VMC church planter coach, Pernell Goodyear. He comments that because Western culture has moved from modernity (truth is absolute) to postmodernity (truth is relative) over the past 50 years, Canadian Christians must determine how to make the Good News meaningful in our setting. We also need to stop relying on superstar leaders and programs that are supposed to produce the same results everywhere.
According to Pernell, heroic leaders tend to be dominant types that have a grand vision to save us from a dark culture. He sees a different pattern in Scripture. “From Genesis to Revelation you have stories not of wild and amazing leaders but normal people that God interacts with in a supernatural way.”
Pernell says that the role of pastor is often considered the highest calling in ministry. He disagrees. “The truth of the matter is that every single one of us, regardless of the role we play in life, the family situation or anything else, if we are followers of Jesus, we are supposed to be living a life on mission.”
As a part-time VMC coach, Pernell has a ringside seat on some of what God is up to among ordinary people in Ontario. One of the church planters Pernell works with is Kevin Makins who leads Eucharist Church in Hamilton
. This unique congregation has an artistic flair that is well suited to their context.
Members of Eucharist demonstrate Christ’s love and character by contributing to the larger culture of the city. They participate in the city’s biweekly “art crawls” held in Hamilton’s historic St. James North neighbourhood. The church also hosts seasonal, multicourse “love feasts” for anyone who wants to come. According to the Eucharist website, "The purpose of the Love Feast is to celebrate what we (as a church) believe God is doing all around us: connecting us with each other, with the creation, and with our Creator.”
At a recent feast, the church surprised their guests with a real wedding. How biblical—the church and the neighbourhood celebrating a marriage together.
What Eucharist is doing may not work in Edmonton or Halifax. It’s up to the believers in each location to discern what God is doing in their context and how to retell the age-old gospel story with relevance.
To hear more from Pernell Goodyear, attend his session “New and Evolving Forms of Church: Rethinking Church and its Mission” at the Thinking Shrewdly VI Conference May 1-2, 2014.