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Belonging Before Believing

Reimagining Evangelism for a millennial generation.
2007This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christian (2001) issued a strong, if controversial, wake-up call to proposition-minded evangelicals eager to reach the millennial generation with the gospel. For those who agreed with the basic tenor of McLaren's book but felt he went too far in downplaying logic-based, creed-centered apologetics, Rick Richardson's Reimagining Evangelism (which tellingly boasts a preface by McLaren) offers a healthy and appealing middle ground.

Richardson agrees with McLaren (and others in the emerging church) that postmoderns are more likely to join us on a spiritual journey than to respond to a one-time, high-pressure conversion sales pitch, that they are more eager to hear the Bible's grand story than the dogmatic statements into which that story has been abstracted by theologians.

What Richardson adds is a powerful vision of a collaborative, Holy Spirit–led apologetics in which a community of believers pools together their diverse gifts.

In today's world, he persuasively argues, seekers must feel they are part of such a community before they embrace Christ: "Belonging comes before believing."

Richardson also helps evangelists to reimagine themselves as detectives "looking for clues of God's Spirit at work in the lives of others."

Related Elsewhere:

Reimagining Evangelism is available from and other retailers.

InterVarsity Press has more information, including an excerpt, from the book.

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