We’re not just Sunday Christians
by Danielle Martell
The church today is grappling with life in a society of post-Christian values and ethics, yet it is to this society that we are called to be ambassadors of Christ. In the midst of this challenging task, our values often conflict with our culture’s values. How do we show dignity, love and respect for the other image-bearers while speaking God’s truth? For many of us, we go to church on Sunday, but struggle to make sense of how being Christian impacts our lives Monday through Saturday. Why do so many of us feel a profound disconnect between what happens on Sunday and what happens on Monday? How do we bring the good news of Jesus to our workplace, into political decisions, to the doctor’s office, to our consumption of media, and into every sphere in which we interact? As ambassadors of Jesus, how do we lovingly, thoughtfully, and intentionally bring the gospel to the public square while living in a society that is filled with diverse ideologies?
On May 9-11, 2018, Regent College, a graduate school of Christian Theology in Vancouver, will be hosting a Pastor’s Conference entitled ‘Ambassadors: Christ in the Public Square.’ The conference will address questions of taking the gospel outside the doors of the church. In an interview with the conference host, Rev. Professor Ross Hastings (Regent College, Professor of Theology) elaborates on what inspired this year’s conference. He comments that there is “a deepened sense of the dualism in the church between Sunday and the other six days. We want to help Christians be in the public realm in a way that they have a strong understanding of the theology of work and they can relate intelligently about issues in the public square demonstrating that they think Christianly about everything.”
Hastings expressed concern for God’s people to be equipped to respond Christianly in the midst of the turbulence we find ourselves in with issues that bombard the church on political levels. In recent years we have seen Christians grapple with the political impact on items such as losing grant money for Christian organizations, medical assistance in dying, homosexuality, and transgender issues. In these challenging times Hastings encourages Christians to “develop a theology of public square and develop a theology that extends beyond Sunday. Learn to think Christianly about everything.”
The conference will help church leaders equip God’s people to take their faith intelligently and lovingly to the public square as godly ambassadors of Christ. Hastings remarked, “When pastors themselves are able to think Christianly about how we speak and how we are in the public square, they will also be able to equip the whole people of God to think in those areas as well, so this [conference] is an equipping function… It will give them a framework. It will give them a language. It will also give them a theology for being in the public square.”
This three-day pastors’ conference is open to pastors, leaders, and laity. There will be a diverse range of speakers including: Regent College’s President, Dr. Jeffrey P. Greenman (Professor of Theology and Ethics), Dr. Iain Provan (Biblical Scholar, Regent College), Nikki Toyama-Szeto (Executive Director, Evangelicals for Social Action), Mike Baird (Former Premier of NSW; CCO, National Australia Bank), Reverend John Fils-Aime (Central Baptist Church, New York City), and several other outstanding workshop speakers.
This conference will aid church leaders in equipping the people of God to connect Christ with culture, and in so doing, connect the other six days of their lives with their Christian faith in the heart of the public square. As bearers of God’s good news and as ambassadors of God’s kingdom, we are called to the public square. This means we simply cannot afford to be merely ‘Sunday Christians’. For more information and to register for the conference, visit rgnt.net/pastors.