2013 Bible Conference: To the Ends of the Earth: Models of Mission in the 21st Century

Mission is a vocation, a call, to go out and spread one’s religious faith.  However, in our 21st century we  arrive at an interesting turning point of postmodernity.  How do we reach our postmodern society in a way that is faithful to the essence of our traditions, yet still engage them within their context?  In this conference, we will hear from scholars in their respective fields as they help us to create, innovate, and imagine new ways of doing mission for the 21st century.

Conference Itinerary

“To the Ends of the Earth: Models of Mission in the 21st Century”

Monday, October 21, 2013

9AM – 3PM

Morning Session

9:00 AM  – Opening Praise & Worship
9:10 AM – Opening Address/Prayer, Dr. Kirkpatrick Cohall, Vice President of Academic Affairs

9:30 AM – Arthur Satterwhite, III: “Good News for the Post-Modern Man”
In 1966, American Bible Society produced its 1st edition of the “Good News for Modern Man” Bible that resembled the medium of that day – a newspaper. A best seller in its time, this presentation of the Scriptures in a modern-day context helped the culture of the day find the Scriptures in new and relevant ways. Fast-forward nearly 1/2 a century and we find that the nature of culture and the media through which we communicate have vastly changed.

With increased access to media and broader channels of distribution, research has shown that the Bible’s influence is losing ground in our society. During this session we will explore not only where the Bible currently stands in relation to culture in our post-modern context, but also how creation and innovation can once again illuminate the Scriptures for the Church of tomorrow.

10:20 AM – BREAK

10:30 AM – Charlene Han Powell: “BYOT (Bring Your Own Theology)”
Recent studies and statistics on religion in American paint a pretty dim picture. Church attendance is shrinking, religious participation is waning, and the generation leading the charge on all these fronts is the Millennials. Never before in history has there been a larger group of people who claim no religion, no faith, no God. But amidst this growing number of “Nones” is a rising group of social-justice minded young adults who are choosing religion over spirituality, commitment over casual participation, vitality over status quo. Join Charlene Han Powell as she discusses how the church can learn from the pioneers of this generation whose doubts and questions might not only reshape the church, but save it.

10:55 AM – Walter Hidalgo: “HIP-HOP, Spirituality and Empowerment”
Hip-hop is creating an expanding ministerial and spiritual movement that is changing the socio-historical landscape on a national and global level. From the streets of its birthplace in the South Bronx to the barrios of Colombia in South America; Hip-hop is helping to both re-create and re-imagine what sacred spaces look like for our marginalized youth and young adult street populations.

11:20 AM – Tamara Henry: “A 3D Pedagogy for Missions: Deejays, Dancehalls & Discipleship”
This session explores how the church might begin to re-imagine its missional vocation in ways that more effectively address disaffiliation among youth and young adults. Particular emphasis will be placed on how popular music forms such as hip hop are fashioning new pedagogies for mission within youth and young adult ministry.

11:45 AM – Discussion/Questions & Answers with the Morning Panelists

12:00 PM –  Blessing of Food and Lunch

Afternoon Session

1:05 PM – NYTS Korean Student Choir

1:15 PM – Dr. Moody-Shepherd: “Reading the Bible Through the Cultural Lens of Tribal People”
Ghanaians had used their proverbs as sacred text before the arrival of the missionaries. They continue to use these moral teachings in conjunction with the book of Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible in their worship life. African ethics are not legalistic or juridical but vitalistic: they are at the service of life and thus totally open to the morality of the Gospel (John 10:10). Their ethics is an ethics of communion with people and the natural environment—global and cosmic in nature. Likewise, Christian morality is based on communion and co-responsibility with others. Respect for parents and hierarchical order is a mark of African ethics; here they fall in line with the second of the Ten Commandments: to honor one’s father and mother. Respect for life and the resources for existence and conservation is another mark of African culture that is in accord with the Christian message.

What the West considers metaphysical, Africans engage as reality. Their multidimensional religious experiences supersede the modernist one-dimensional approach.

2:00 PM – Dr. Dale T. Irvin: “Christianity Without Church: The Bible & Faith in a Post-Church Age”
Across the globe we are seeing changes in traditional patterns of Christian life accelerating at an ever-increasing pace. One of these is the emergence of a surprising number of movements that are calling themselves “post church Christians” and embracing what is being called “Christianity without a church.” It is not just the “nones” in North America who are spiritual but don’t go to church. It is also the “churchless Christians” of India, or “cultural Christians” in China. What is surprising in many of these instances is the way discipleship and faith continue to be central to the “post church” or “churchless Christian” movements.

The Bible continues to be read and biblical teachings embraced as being important even if people are not joining churches or gathering in them to worship in community on Sundays across the globe. Dale Irvin will be looking at movements in various parts of the globe to see what in fact is going on, and whether or not a new form of “anonymous church” (as Karl Rahner might have called it) is emerging.

2:45 PM – Questions and Answer Period with the Afternoon Presenters



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