In this era of post-Christendom, Christians need to get creative. Recently, in my article published in Post-Christendom Studies 6 (“Christian Mission and the English Pub”), I presented the local pub is a potential gathering place and point of contact for Christian evangelistic efforts through the implementation of disciple making movement principles within the context of post-Christian England.
In England, secularization has forced the removal of religious voices of influence—and primarily Christian voices—from the public to the private spheres of life. Within this setting, it is important to be aware of the issue of social dis-ease, which refers to the social anxiety fueled by negative politeness as well as cultural taboos and expectations prevalent throughout all levels of English society and inhibits social bonding.
So, how can the church effectively and creatively engage this context? In my article, I offer one suggestion: The English “pub.” Simply put, the pub is a pre-existing exception to the issue of social dis-ease. Ultimately, every aspect of the pub works to fulfill the needs of the local community and to create safe avenues for social bonding in order to combat the effects of anxiety and loneliness caused by social dis-ease and amplified by diminished religious adherence due to secularization.
Of course, the pub alone is insufficient to address the spiritual needs of the local community without the participation of faithful followers of Christ.
For this reason, much of my paper seeks to provide a few insights on disciple making movements in the pub context. We need to be aware of the goals and characteristics of disciple making movements, with particular attention given to the emphasis of Spirit-filled prayer and direct obedience of the Word of God. The pub is the ideal location for believers and seekers to gather together in the pursuit of obedience and befriend those in the local community who have not yet heard the message of Christ.
The Church should devote time and resources to the study of one’s local context in order to implement relevant and appropriate methods of ministry. The pub is one suggestion of how Christians can approach evangelism and discipleship in post-Christian England, but the principles should remain the same: Prayerful consideration of the effects of secularization and pluralization, a realistic understanding of Christianity’s historical influence, and a commitment to the obedience of the Word of God.
[Editor’s Note: The above is a synopsis of Ms. Jackson’s article in Post-Christendom Studies 6. If you are interested in reading this article in full, it is available on the website here.]
Mary Alexandra Jackson is a postgraduate student at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of McMaster Divinity College or the Centre for Post-Christendom Studies.*