Tuesday, September 24, 2013

6 Characteristics of a Church on Mission

In my current sermon series out of 1 Peter  on 'What Church Is'--I recently discussed the need to love the city and its culture (while not compromising/conforming to it). Related to this subject, Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, discusses six characteristics of a missional church ("The Missional Church", June 2001).

1.  Its members love and talk positively about the city/neighborhood.

2.  They speak in a language that is not filled with Christianized self-righteous or technical terms and phrases, nor using disdainful or embattled language. [In other words, not creating an 'us vs. them environment'--which is a very difficult place to start when desiring to share the good news of the gospel.]

3.  Preaching and Bible studies are not disconnected from the core concerns and stories of the people of the culture.

4.  The people of the church are obviously interested and engaged with the literature and art and thought of the surrounding culture and can discuss it both appreciatively and yet critically.

5.  The church exhibits deep concern for the poor and generosity with their money, respect with regard to the opposite sex, and shows humility toward people of other races and cultures.

6.  They do not bash other Christians and churches.

Tim Keller says that when these characteristics are present, seekers and non-believers are more likely to explore spiritual issues with that church.  If these marks are not present, then that church will only be able to include believers or traditional, "Christianized" people.

Become a people committed  to blessing our community by celebrating creativity and diversity while recognizing the need for gospel renewal.  "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

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