Developing a Lyrical Language of Anabaptist Gospeling

Richard Stoner
School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary
August, 2014


When we stop and listen to the gospel "music" of the Mennonite Church in the United States, we might hear the sound of dissonance ringing in our ears. It would appear that the gospel that we live and speak is "off-key" or has become muted altogether. There is a deep desire by many to reach-out to their communities, yet the question remains about how we do that. We might think that we need to sell the gospel, or we might simply say that we will let our actions speak for themselves. However, both of these approaches leave something to be desired. Therefore, it is time to "re-tune" out thoughts about evangelization and our faith tradition in this post-Christendom context.

In my research, I set out to learn how different congregations in Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA embody the gospel in their communities with their words and actions and how Anabaptist tradition can empower this gospel living. Additionally, part of my research sought to identify the correlation between discipleship and evangelization to see how this gospel "music" is formed in our lives.

I found that Anabaptist gospeling comes from an understanding that our tradition is a living tradition. In Anabaptist gospeling the gospel is both poetic and kinesthetic and it reignites our imaginations so that we can see the world in new ways, thus becoming gospeling artists. Additionally, Anabaptist gospeling engages the margins of our communities. This lyrical language engages the core of the the faith community to bring change. When this happens the entire community is drawn into the gospeling process.

ISSN: 2374-4103