Oct 26, 2011
neil

Keller’s answer to every church’s question

The City to City Europe conference is getting off to a great start here in Berlin.

500 delegates from 26 countries representing over 100 nations all concerned to see churches planted across Europe has to be reason to rejoice and a reason for hope.

We’ve heard of God richly blessing planting initiatives and we’ve heard of God richly blessing faithful church-planters who’s work is hard because there is little fruit.

One planter of a church in Paris described ‘the privilege of ploughing where the ground is hard’, another in Frankfurt described the challenge of being a bi-vocational Pastor with a weekly congregation of 15 of so. Both stories are reminders of why we need to pray for our countries in Europe.

Tim Keller gave the first keynote address on the gospel-centred church and here’s one gem of an answer to  a thoughtful question that came out of his talk.

How can we know whether our church is either too accommodating to the culture of our city or not accommodating enough?

Keller’s answer: A church that is not accommodating, culturally, will be seeing no conversions because no-one will ever come through the door. A church that is too accommodating, culturally, will be seeing lots of new people attending but no changed lives because the church is only mirroring the culture rather than critiquing the culture.

So a gospel church in a city should be willing and able to flex on the negotiables making it’s meetings accessible to non-believers but not flexing  on gospel-living as the church challenges the culture by being an attractive and distinctive gospel-community.

Deciding when and how to celebrate the culture of a city and when and how to critique the culture of a city is the art of being a church-planter.

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