Imagining a Future for Churches of Christ: Mission, Testimony, and Creation Care
When: June 8, 2023, 1:45 pm - Thursday
Hospitality is one of the core qualities, goals, and signs of missional participation in God’s kingdom. The spiritual practices of testimony and creation care are two important avenues for practicing missional hospitality that we have the opportunity to flesh out in many Churches of Christ (alongside many other traditions). Testimony, as practiced in the Black Church, gives us a model for posturing ourselves to be the guest inside another’s story. Creation care helps us tune into the testimony of creation on its terms, and to extend God’s loving welcome to the Earth and everything in it.
Falon Barton, Pepperdine University Church of Christ, “Participating in the Testimony of Creation as an Act of Missional Hospitality: A Theology of Care and Practical Steps Forward”
This paper examines creation care as a spiritual practice of missional hospitality. Through tangible acts of connecting with and caring for the Earth, we proclaim and participate in God’s mission to all creation, including — but importantly not limited to — humanity. Through these spiritual practices, we both humbly receive hospitality from creation, which God designed to sustain human life through ecosystems of mutuality, and we also compassionately show hospitality to creation by (1) listening to the testimony of creation as a fundamental witness to the character and work of God, and (2) practicing stewardship over the Earth in the way of Jesus and his call to discipleship.
Christopher Cobbler, Reformation Memphis, Memphis, TN, “Recovering the Art of Testimony, as Embodied Within the Historical Black Church, as a Missionally Formative Practice”
This project considers how the art of testimony, as embodied within the traditional Black church, functions as a missionally formative practice that can be utilized to reimagine an alternative eschatological community. Testimony, in the historical Black Church, was a dynamically central liturgical practice; it served as a tool to shape the theological imagination within a particular community. As a result of modern rationalism’s cognitivist anthropology and a general affirmation of a disembodied, dualistic theological posture, testimony is no longer identified as an indispensable component of Black liturgy. This study aimed to reflect on the ways testimony service can be recovered as an embodied missionally formative discipline
John York, Lipscomb University, Convener
- Falon Barton, Pepperdine University Church of Christ, “Participating in the Testimony of Creation as an Act of Missional Hospitality: A Theology of Care and Practical Steps Forward”
- Paul Prill, Lipscomb University, Ecclesial Response
- Helen Holmlund, Pepperdine University, Academic Response
- Christopher Cobbler, Reformation Memphis, Memphis, TN, “Recovering the Art of Testimony, as Embodied Within the Historical Black Church, as a Missionally Formative Practice”
- Daryl Horton, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Austin, TX, Ecclesial Response
- Kris Miller, Lipscomb University, Academic Response