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As Western society loses its collective memory of Christendom, the Church not only is becoming irrelevant, to many it is even suspect. Subsequently, the challenge is to present a tangible witness that the local community recognizes as Gospel. One way to present a tangible witness to the Gospel and unite local churches is through collective acts of service. This ministry focus paper introduces a reproducible strategy for local churches, equipping them to overcome differences in mission focus, theology, and ethnicity to work together as the Body of Christ to bless their city through tangible acts of service.
Part One introduces the diverse city of Milpitas, CA and the churches within the Milpitas Pastors Association. While diversity is a beautiful feature of Milpitas, its linguistic and ethnic subcultures have contributed to a fractured and weakened local church—a serious missional impairment in a city where the majority of people do not have a Christian background. Yet, despite these obstacles a group of diverse churches found a way to function missionally as the local Body of Christ.
Part Two establishes the theological foundation of this project. It draws primarily from a Reformed heritage, but also is influenced by contemporary Evangelical and ancient Catholic traditions. It presents a theology for ecumenical service-evangelism founded on the biblical conviction that there truly is one Church, the Body of Christ. As the Body of Christ, the Church is called to present the Gospel not only verbally, tangibly through its ethic. This incarnational witness introduces a Gospel narrative understandable to a diverse non-Christian community, particularly through service.
Part Three presents Milpitas Cares, the model ultimately implemented by the churches in Milpitas. It describes its initial introduction, successive development, various lessons learned, and future possibilities. It closes with an assessment of the project and its potential reproducibility.
Content Reader: Richard Peace, PhD
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Tumney, Mark C., "Milpitas Cares: A Reproducible Model for Local Churches Using Service as an Evangelistic Witness" (2016). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 226.