Tags: Contextualization, missional, Redeemer NYC, Tim Keller, Urban Missions
There is a great scene in the movie the 13th Warrior, where Ahmed(Antonio Banderas) is traveling with the 12 viking warriors, and he doesn’t know how to talk with them so he is just listening. They are telling stories, and laughing each others jokes. Then all of a sudden he understands one part of what they are saying, and then another, and finally Ahmed start to speak with the rest of the warriors, he even responds to a joke about him.
I have been learning over and over again that this clip is actually a pretty good picture of what Christians are supposed to do as missionaries. We are supposed to observe how people are communicating, and learn the best way communicate to the people we are trying to communicate with. This is how we are supposed to go about communicating with people its the same for someone, in urban africa, rural india, or Post-Christian-America. Its called being missional.
I have been reading about the practical side of being missional(being a missionary in a Post-Christian/Non-Christian context). One of main work on the topic,The Missional Church, is also one of the shortest, and guess who wrote it? One of my favorite Pastors-Tim Keller surprise, surprise.
Here is a one sentence summary of the work:
Stop thinking like its all about the alreadys(Those already the church), and focus more on the not yets(people not yet part of the kingdom).
Here is a good example from the paper:
“Now the culture’s story is– 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.”
If you still think that people need to act like you in order to fit into your church, I beg you, please repent. Open you Bibles to 1st Corinthians 9, and ask the Spirit to give you a heart like Paul has in that passage. While your at it, pray that everyone else will get a heart like Paul as well.