I’m reading Comeback Churches right now (Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson).
And man, are these boys putting my heart into words. These are things I’ve long believed, but never quite articulated—mostly relating to mission and culture and how the church is supposed to act.
For example, what’s a “missional church?”
Well, “If they do what missionaries do—study and learn language; become part of culture; proclaim the Good News, be the presence of Christ, and contextualize biblical life and church for that culture—they are missional churches.”
“Missional churches are indigenous, taking root in the soil of their society and reflecting, appropriately, their culture.”
“Tim Keller explained: Some churches certainly did ‘evangelism’ as one ministry among many. But the church in the West had not become completely ‘missional’ — adapting and reformulating absolutely everything it did in worship, discipleship, community, and service—so as to be engaged with the non-Christian society around it. It had not developed a ‘missiology of western culture’ the way it had done for so many other non-believing cultures.”
This is why I just preached on zombies. And superheroes before that, thanks to Samson and Esther in particular.
It’s why we just did a series on the end of the world and the apocalypse;
Why we’re leaning into technology and why I have a dream to mine the cutting edge of technology in the church setting;
Why I write a blog for geeks like you and me;
Why I love movies and why I’m passionate about using them to highlight and enhance faith.
Un-missional churches with un-missional pastors who refuse to contextualize God’s truth might as well post a sign outside their churches saying, “Go away, this is none of your concern.”
The Bible itself is thoroughly, strategically, and powerfully contextualized for the cultures (note, plural) it was written in. The Apostle Paul routinely used the pop culture of his day (the gladiator games, for example) to illustrate biblical truths. Refusing to do this in our own culture strips the word of meaningful context for it’s hearers, which pretty much ensures it will be seen (and experienced) as vapid and irrelevant.
The Word of God is not a disembodied collection of pristine propositions hovering aloof throughout the aeons, defiantly abstract, a platitudinal mirage ever dissolving just beyond the reach of daily usefulness.
Praise God, who has something relevant to say to Whovians, to Trekkies, to Cosplayers, to Fanboys and Gamers and Jedi warriors and Browncoats.
To me and you.
Are you comfortable with the idea of church being located within culture vs. transcending it? Comment below.