Two New Books Focus on Partnerships, Transformation

Post a Comment » Written on November 6th, 2008     
Filed under: News
WYNEWOOD, PA (November 6, 2008) – Two new books by Evangelical Covenant Church minister Al Tizon have recently been published.

One of them, Linking Arms, Linking Lives, exhorts churches to partner across the “urban-suburban” divide for community transformation. The other, Transformation after Lausanne, documents the transformational movement around the world, specifically in the Philippines.

Tizon is the director of Word & Deed Network of the Evangelicals for Social Action/Sider Center for Ministry and Public Policy. He is also assistant professor of holistic ministry at Palmer (formerly Eastern) Theological Seminary in Wynnewood.

He and his family engaged in community development work, street children ministry, and church leadership development among the poor in his native Philippines for nine years.  He also served several churches in both the Philippines and the United States – as associate and interim pastor for seven years, and as lead pastor for five.

Linking Arms, Linking Lives encourages urban and suburban partnerships that endeavor to transform communities. The book is a collaborative effort with Ron Sider, John Perkins and Wayne Gordon.

The book promotes many of the ideas and goals of Word & Deed Network, Tizon says. The network seeks to help congregations, businesses, and nonprofits in suburban and urban settings work together in long-term, sustainable ministry.

“The things that God has called us to do are too big for us to do alone,” Tizon says.

Networking offers rewards and opportunities for everyone involved, Tizon says. He notes that participants experience the “joy of obedience, cultural fruit and enrichment, and personal and community transformation.”

In the process, significant challenges must be addressed, Tizon adds, such as racism and tensions between economic classes – often unrealized. Issues of power, such as who gets to lead in urban-suburban partnerships, also arise and must be addressed.

The book includes examples of how different partnerships have worked and offers suggestions on how to start new networks. Study questions at the end of each chapter offer opportunity for group discussion.

Transformation after Lausanne is more theologically focused and limits its study to the significant influence of a loosely knit network of “radical evangelicals” from around the world. The network includes organizations such as the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in the United Kingdom, and individuals such as Sider, and Tom Sine.

Prior to the Lausanne Congress of 1974, evangelicals tended to believe personal evangelism was a more important focus than social action. The Congress was a landmark shift in that thinking that led to the transformational movement, Tizon says.

“This missiology integrated evangelism and social concern like no other,” Tizon says. “It lifted up the theological voices coming from the Two-Thirds World to places of prominence.”

“The transformational movement has changed the question,” he adds. “It’s not what’s more important – evangelism or social action? The question now is, ‘How do we most faithfully bear witness to the good news of the kingdom?’ In answering that, you have to talk about word, you have to talk about deed, and you have to talk about life.”

This kind of integral thinking is now widespread among evangelicals, Tizon says. “And I believe the transformational movement can largely be credited for that.”

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