There is a very popular concept in both modern and post-modern churches called "neutral place". This is a concept coming from the seeker-sensitive movement, and the idea is that you should have meetings in a public neutral place, because unbelievers will feel more comfortable to go there then to go to a more personal space, like someone's house
I think it is time for someone to say it. Neutral places are completely overrated. Looking back on my experience, neutral places were the second biggest simple community / house church killer I have ever seen, right after re-institutionalizing. More specifically, moving from a personal space to a "neutral" space is a church killer. It will destroy much of the personal touch in the community, and in the end, the community itself.
The real question is that we move to "neutral" places because we are trying to evangelize people before we create relationships with them. We want them to come to the "neutral" place, and then we may want to create a relationship with them. But that's a much harder thing to happen than the opposite.
So, why do we want to evangelize before creating relationships? For a number of different reasons. The most common is that we don't have time to create relationships because we are too busy "doing church" (will you have time to create relationships after?). another popular reason is that when you work full-time in ministry, you don't have non-christian friends to create relationships with. Or you are so christian that all your friends are christian. All of those are really lousy reasons.
Are this words too harsh? Is your experience different than mine?
I saw this book first in some emergent weblog, and that got me interested in it. So, recently, I amazoned it, and finished reading it on my extended 3 week vacations (Yes, I'm the lucky one).
I'll start by saying that the book ia a good one to read, worth the money, etc. His point is that the celtic way of evangelism is the best way to reach the postmodern culture of today. And I would kind of agree with it, since celtic christians were cool guys that I would like to hang around with. But maybe what should be said is that Hunter's interpretation of celtic christianity way of evangelism is probably the best way to reach them.
Some of the things he says gets you thinking how he could know that the celts did it that way. It gets you the feeling that Hunter has an idea of how evangelism should be done in our days, and then goes on showing (or demanding) that the celtic christians did it the same way. But thats just a small part of it.
Most of it is in solid foundation, and describes lots of greart ideas and concepts to evangelize the people of our days. And the best thing, there is theory, but there is also practice. The best book on evangelism I read this year (but then, it was the only one).