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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evangelism and the Margins: Living Jesus' Transformational Narrative of Love and Outreach
by Calizaire, Carla, D.Min., Drew University, 2017, 144; 10681976
Abstract (Summary)

This project examines the interplay between marginalization and evangelism. The concept and perceptions around both topics are complex. Evangelism as presented in the socio-historical context of the bible and modern society is not one dimensional. There are many blurred lines when attempting to understand evangelism from a biblical and modern perspective. For those who are marginalized, it is extremely relevant and worthy of examination because of the demeaning and painful effect it has on those who have lived on the fringes. Marginalization is life changing and radically changes the ways in which those marginalized interact with others, conceive the world, and develop their own self-perceptions. In any sphere, marginalization is humiliating, but it has a particularly jarring effect when experienced in the context of the church that is supposed to exemplify edification and liberation.

The connection between evangelism and marginalization might not seem obvious at first glance, but an examination of Jesus’ ministry reveals he often performed some of the most impactful evangelism in the margins. It is within the periphery of community, church, and society that we witnessed some of the greatest forms of ministry by someone who himself was relegated to the margins.

I partnered with Grant Chapel AME Church to examine the effects marginalization had upon evangelism and to explore ways the church could address its negative effects. Grant Chapel AME Church members shared their views surrounding marginalization and evangelism through two focus groups, an online survey and a five-week bible study. As a community of faith, we analyzed the stories of Jesus in the gospels, specifically stories where he experienced marginalization. We then compared the practice of evangelism in the biblical context with its practice in the current socio-historical context. The project results demonstrated the need to reimage the approach to evangelism today and the extensive work needed to provide a clear understanding of evangelism within the community of faith, in connection to Jesus’ example provided in the Gospels. It was also instructive for revealing the impressions we leave on others when we interact with members within and outside of our faith community.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Todd, J. Terry, Sweet, Leonard
Commitee: Byrd, Vernon, Contreras-Byrd, Melinda, Hunter, Rhonda, Johnson, Robert, Johnson, Timothy, Moore, Nannette, Santiago, Maria Magdalena
School: Drew University
Department: Doctor of Ministry
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Divinity, Theology
Keywords: Evangelism, Jesus, Love, Outreach
Publication Number: 10681976
ISBN: 978-0-355-49355-9
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