This is our mission statement—To redemptively engage peoples and cultures—snipped from our vision statement: “Cultivating communities of Spirit-led disciples who redemptively engage peoples and cultures through Christ for the glory of God.” Last night our core team discussed what it means to be missional, to redemptively engage peoples and cultures.
After defining culture, we watched the video below of Tim Keller. A great disucssion ensued. Below are some highlights.
o Tim Keller Video (cf. Driscoll video)
§ “Missional Church understands what it is like to not believe.”
§ As a church that seeks to redemptively engage the peoples and cultures of Austin, it is imperative that we understand the peoples and cultures of Austin.
· Certain amount of cultural knowledge that I possess as a church planter, some from books other from conversations. However, we are all called to make disciples of all nations, and anecdotal knowledge is better!
· How can we do this?
· We are all missionaries. Begin asking people what they believe about faith, culture, city growth, environmental issues, etc. Try to write down verbatim quotes after discussions and bring your answers next week. These will inform our discussion about being missional next week.
o Engaging Culture: What do we mean by engagement? It is an approach to culture that is neither secularist nor sectarian. It is neither uncritical nor hypercritical, not thoughtless participation in or blanket withdraw from culture. Instead, it is my hope that we will be convinced, inspired and equipped to critically and winsomely engage culture by recognizing and celebrating what is good, redeeming and renewing what is broken, critiquing what is gray, and rejecting what is bad.
A couple organic quotes from Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways:
“The problem is that most people see the church as an institution and not an organic movement (living system), in spite of the fact that the Bible is replete with organic images of church and kingdom (body, field, vine, soil, etc.).” p. 253
The Bible is laced with organic images that engender an “ecological view” of the church and leadership. If we remodeled our leadership and churches with these organic metaphors in mind, we would develop a more fertile communal life.” 166
“Having Babies is Fun….each unit of church can be conceived as a pod filled with seeds: each church “pregnant” with other churches. And it is in following this impulse that the apostolic church extends itself….this is actually how all powerful movements start. It begins with a group of people impassioned with a cause that reproduces itself through multiplication systems.”
Despite the surge of success of Richard Florida’s work The Rise of the Creative Class, there are some reasons to rethink his work. The trouble with Florida’s thesis is not in the accessibly or cogency of his argument–that urban economies are fueled by creative people–but rather in some of his assertions and applications of his creative thesis.
Do Florida’s assertions about the CC being integral to economic growth hold up? Steven Malanga points out that many Creative Class cities have not outpaced non-CC cities in their job growth. Innovation and entrepreneurship are flourishing in non-CC cities such as Detroit and Grand Rapids, cities that Florida writes off.
What about Florida’s urban growth applications? Rise of the Creative Class relies heavily on the gay and bohemian index to identify creative class cities and even recommends that cities attempt to draw gay populations to stimulate dense, hip, culturally diverse, and economically strong urban centers. The plain trouble with this advice is that there are plenty of Creatives that prefer high culture and social homogeneity, people who prefer the space, safety and luxury of the suburbs over the density, crime and “creativity” of the city. Perhaps we should not write off urban growth standbys, such as lower taxes, better education, improved basic services, and efficient governance.
Critiques included, Rise of the Creative Class still offers a wealth of cultural insight into some of America’s most successful cities. Only the passing of time will truly prove or disprove Florida’s economics. Yet we do well to note that as people who exist to renew cities, spiritually, socially, and culturally, missional Christians should exegete their cultures, understand the basic needs of their cities, and maintain the centrality of the whole gospel. With all this talk of cultural capital, we must be careful to not be swept up into planting cool churches and being cool people. Jesus didn’t fit that mold, and the poor of our cities need much more than Kanye’s latest album or a pair of Diesel jeans.
For more critiques:
Glaeser, Review of The Rise of the Creative Class
Malanga, Curse of the Creative Class
First we must recognize that the church growth school’s designation of a receptive people group is based upon actual, observable social occurrences. Societal change is occurring due to the presence of the gospel. People are leaving their old beliefs and accepting the gospel. Persons of peace are converting to Christ and spreading the gospel through their social networks. Groups of new believers are forming new social structures called churches. These churches are reproducing and multiplying.
Read the rest from NAMB research…