Tim Keller on missional church

Dr. Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, has a very concise document outlining the elements of the missional church. I have linked it here. I am providing a summary of the elements:

1. Discourse in the vernacular

  • The missional church avoids tribal language, we-them language, and sentimental, pompous, ‘inspirational’ talk.

2. Enter and re-tell the culture’s stories with the gospel

  • Our culture’s story is this: a) to be free and self-created and authentic (theme of freedom from oppression), and b) to make the world safe for everyone else to be the same (theme of inclusion of the ‘other’; justice).
  • To “re-tell” means to show how only in Christ can we have freedom without slavery and embracing of the ‘other’ without injustice.

3. Theologically train lay people for public life and vocation

  • In a missional church, the laity needs theological education to ‘think Christianly’ about everything and work with Christian distinctiveness.
  • Lay people renewing and transforming the culture through distinctively Christian vocations must be lifted up as real ‘kingdom work’ and ministry.

4. Create Christian community which is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive

“In general, a church must be more deeply and practically committed to deeds of compassion and social justice than traditional liberal churches and more deeply and practically committed to evangelism and conversion than traditional fundamentalist churches. This kind of church is profoundly ‘counter-intuitive’ to American observers. It breaks their ability to categorize (and dismiss) it as liberal or conservative. Only this kind of church has any chance in the non-Christian west.”

5. Practice Christian unity as much as possible on the local level

  • At the local level, missional churches will cooperate with and reach out to and support other congregations in their communities.
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