Let’s say you’re in this boat too: being convinced by Scripture and convicted by the Holy Spirit to step out, deeply burdened to see lost people in your neighborhood, bars, coffee shops, gyms, grocery stores, and schools meet Jesus. This means you have to think like a missionary—a mindset that requires both studying the culture you find yourself in, as well as engaging with it.
Gathering together on Sunday morning and then scattering out into the world the rest of the week is easy to do in a society that leaves Sunday alone. But we don’t live in that world anymore. We can respond to the change with guilt trips and increased separation from the community we live in, or we can make a few adjustments.
Contextualization is not optional. Hear me, working to contextualize what you’re doing is not just mere pragmatism – “how to get stuff done” and “be more effective” (though those things are important). It is about loving people. A church that does not seek to contextualize itself, its ministries, the gospel message, and every other avenue of communication inevitably creates more barriers than bridges for the advancement of the gospel in our communities.
Jesus made it clear in his Great Commission that we are to “make disciples” (Matt. 28:18-20). But how is this goal best accomplished? I would like to suggest that biblical discipleship takes place through companionship, preparing leaders to serve the church of Jesus Christ. Discipleship can be simply defined as “companionship in preparation for leadership.” […]
In 1965, Dr. Earl Radmacher invited Dr. Cook to join the faculty of Western [Conservative Baptist] Seminary. He taught theology and later served as Vice-President and Academic Dean until his retirement from those positions in 1986. Leaving his administrative responsibilities behind, Bob returned to his first love—teaching systematic theology.