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The Role of the 21st Century Urban Church


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The Role of the 21st Century Urban Church

  1. 1. THE ROLE OF THE 21 ST CENTURY URBAN CHURCH Behold the mounts, they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of the sword and of the famine and of the pestilence: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and behold, thou seest it. And thou hast said unto me…Buy thee the field… (Jeremiah 32:24-25) Pastor Joseph Carlos Robinson Risky Business
  2. 2. Sequence Of Ideas Define Our Approach How Should We Think About This Issue? Define Our Terms What Do We Mean By Church, 21 st Century, Urban? Define Our Challenge What Are The Difficulties? Define Our Agenda What Should We Do?
  3. 3. FORM PATTERN STRUCTURE ORGANIZATION METHOD TRADITIONS ECCELSIASTICAL NOTES SCRIPTURE (What We Should Do) PRINCIPLES HISTORY (What Has Been Done) LESSONS SITUATIONS (What We Should Be Doing ) IMPLICATIONS P H I L O S O P H Y DEVELOPING A PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY Gene Getz Sharpening The Focus Of The Church Anyone who attempts to formulate a biblical philosophy of ministry and develop a contemporary strategy and methodology that stands squarely on scriptural foundations must ask and answer some fundamental questions. Why does the church exist? What is its ultimate purpose? Why has God left it in the world in the first place?
  4. 4. DEFINING THE CHURCH <ul><li>The word translated &quot;church&quot; in the English Bible is ekklesia . This word is the Greek words kaleo (to call), with the prefix ek (out). Thus, the word means &quot;the called out ones.&quot; However, the English word &quot;church&quot; does not come from ekklesia but from the word kuriakon , which means &quot;dedicated to the Lord.&quot; This word was commonly used to refer to a holy place or temple. </li></ul><ul><li>By the time of Jerome's translation of the New Testament from Greek to Latin, it was customary to use a derivative of kuriakon to translate ekklesia . Therefore, the word church is a poor translation of the word ekklesia since it implies a sacred building, or temple. A more accurate translation would be &quot;assembly&quot; because the term ekklesia was used to refer to a group of people who had been called out to a meeting . </li></ul><ul><li>Since believers have been united with Christ through spiritual baptism, they are sometimes corporately referred to as the body of Christ. (Rom. l2:4-5; 1 Cor. l2:11,13,l8,27; Col. l:l8; Eph. 5:30) The idea seems to be that the group of Christians in the world constitute the physical representation of Christ on earth . It is also a metaphor which demonstrates the interdependence of members in the church, while at the same time demonstrating their diversity from one another. (Rom. 12:4; 1 Cor. 12:14-17) </li></ul>
  5. 5. DEFINTIONS OF THE CHURCH The whole company of regenerate persons in all times and again, in heaven and on earth…identified with the spiritual kingdom of God; that redeemed humanity in which God in Christ exercises actual spiritual dominion (Strong) The church is hope of the world (Bill Hybels) Wherever Jesus is, there is the church (Ignatius) The church seeks to be an actualization or proximate realization of the Kingdom of God within the conditions of history. The Church seeks to extend the sphere of the Kingdom in real time human history. The local, visible ekkelesia is the whole church expressed locally in a particular time and space. (Thomas Oden)
  6. 6. DEFINTIONS OF THE CHURCH <ul><li>The Church is the whole company of those who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, a company of the faithful, called and gathered out of the whole who by faith are partakers of all those good graces which are freely offered through Christ. (Second Helvetic Conference) </li></ul><ul><li>The Church is the holy foundation made by the Incarnate Word of God for the salvation and sanctification of men, bearing His own authority and authentification, constituted of men having one faith and sharing in the same sacraments, who trace their beginning through unbroken succession to the Apostles and through them to our Lord. (Androustros) </li></ul><ul><li>The Church is the community through whom the Holy Spirit administers redemption and distributes gifts, the means in and by which God makes his reconciling work in Christ present to humanity. The church is called from the world to celebrate God’s own coming, and called to return to the world to proclaim the kingdom of God that is centered upon God’s personal coming and expected return. (Thomas Oden) </li></ul>
  7. 7. DEFINING THE URBAN CONTEXT <ul><li>“ While human history begins in a garden, it ends in a city </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Erwin McManus (An Unstoppable Force) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Urban centers and mega-cities are often microcosms of the entire planet. They have a disproportionate influence and impact on human development and culture. When masses of people are pressed together, the society begins to reflect—on a societal level—the realities of the human heart. Everything seems accentuated in in the city. Poverty is accentuated, entertainment is accentuated. Lust for power, wealth, status, prestige and all those things that are often overlooked in the suburban world are exposed in the urban world. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Erwin McManus (An Unstoppable Force) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. DEFINING THE URBAN CONTEXT Population Growth and Density Sociopolitical Hierarchy Spatial Differentiation Concentrated Poverty Islands Of Affluence Isolated Communities Alternative Economies Destination Of Choice For Immigrants Economic Exploitation
  9. 9. DEFINING THE URBAN CONTEXT <ul><li>Metro America , with 34 percent of the land mass, has 65 percent of the population, with a density of 151 persons per square mile. Metro America produces the majority of the nation’s tax revenue </li></ul><ul><li>On the Metro side of the cultural divide are religious moderates and seculars, Democrats, and moderate Republicans who are committed to excellence in education and science, who want the arts to flourish; who are accepting of differences in ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation; and who want a clear division between church and state. These moderates are in favor of women’s, gay, and workers’ rights. Their congressional representatives support affirmative action, public education, childcare, and other services needed by working parents, as well as progressive taxation. </li></ul><ul><li>Metro America is not geographically contiguous—New England, the Middle Atlantic, the Great Lakes states, and the West Coast , plus Colorado and Arizona. Metro America represents “New America,” with the New Economy and political power more equitably distributed among ethnic groups. </li></ul>
  10. 10. DEFINING OUR HISTORICAL MOMENT--21 ST CENTURY TRENDS <ul><li>From Young To Not So Young </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Baby Boomers Retire </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>From Industrial Age To Information Age </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Capital Shifts From Machines to Social and Intellectual </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>From Majority-Minority To Minority-Minority </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>By 2050, American will be predominately minority </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rise Of The Subverted </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Black Middle Class </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Native American Economic Clout </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mayor Villiarirosa? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pope Arinze </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Indian Engineers </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Made In China </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. DEFINING OUR HISTORICAL MOMENT--21 ST CENTURY TRENDS <ul><li>From Micro To Nano and Atomic To Subatomic </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>From The Mini To The Shuffle </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>From Web Sites To Blogs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>From A Round World To A Flat One </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More people can collaborate, connect and compete in real time with more other people on more different kinds of work from from different corners of the planet on a more equal footing than at any previous time in the history of the world using computers, email, networks, teleconferencing, and dynamic new software. Control and command institutions cannot compete. (Friedman) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>From The Pragmatic To The Ethical </li></ul><ul><li>Pace of Scientific Discovery and Social Conflicts force Ethical Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Collapse Of Intellectual Foundations of Modernism </li></ul>
  12. 12. PROFILE OF 21 ST CENTURY URBANITE <ul><li>Post Modern </li></ul><ul><li>Post Denominational </li></ul><ul><li>Post Christian </li></ul><ul><li>Post Literate </li></ul><ul><li>Post Civil Rights </li></ul><ul><li>Unprecedented Access To Information </li></ul><ul><li>Unprecedented Access To Opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>Unprecedented Access To Resources </li></ul>Multicultural, Multilingual, MultiTaskers
  13. 13. DEFINING OUR CHALLENGE 21 ST Century Urban Ministry Is Risky Business Counter Cultural The economic distress of America’s cities may be the most pressing issue facing the nation. Lack of business and jobs in disadvantaged urban area fuels not only a crushing cycle of poverty but also crippling social problems. (Michael Porter) The Manufacturing Base Has Moved South Or Overseas Explosive Suburban and Exburban Growth Dense concentrations of poverty, ignorance, and despair
  14. 14. DEFINING OUR CHALLENGE 21 ST Century Urban Ministry Is Risky Business Counterfeit Religion Religion is the opiate of the Masses (Karl Marx) The danger of so much contemporary Christianity is that you end up with a Gospel that endeavors to meet your needs but does not challenge your priorities. (Lewis Gibbs) The Downside Of Prosperity Catholic Church Scandals Widening Suspicion of Influence of “megachurch” phenom Unprecedented Media Attention Everyone Is A Profit
  15. 15. DEFINING OUR CHALLENGE 21 ST Century Urban Ministry Is Risky Business Counterintuitive Most investment decisions are driven by interest in stable organizations in a stable environment with proven good and services with a reasonable expectation of a return. It was a small group of eleven men whom Jesus commissioned to carry on his work and to bring the gospel to the whole world. They were not distinguished, they were not well educated; they had no influential backers. In their own nation they were nobodies and in any case, their own nation was a mere second class province on the eastern extremity of the Roman map. If they had stopped to weigh up the probabilities of succeeding in their mission, even granted their conviction that Jesus was alive and his Spirit went with them to equip them equip them for their task, their hearts must surely sunk, so heavily were the odds weighted against them. Michael Green
  16. 16. DEFINING OUR CHALLENGE 21 ST Century Urban Ministry Is Risky Business And the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. (Acts 11:26) Antioch, queen of the east, was the third city in the empire after Rome and Alexandria. It had a population of a half a million ,and was a large international city , and had been so since Alexander the Great had conquered it in the 4 th century. As one of the largest cities of the empire, and one of the great commercial centers of the antiquity with business connections all over the world, Antioch saw the coming and going of all sorts of people from every quarter of the globe. Hellenistic City, Roman city, Jewish city, it was the meeting point of Orient and Greek civilization. (Peter Brown)
  17. 17. DEFINING OUR AGENDA WE MUST BE APOSTOLIC Our Norms and Expectations Must Conform To Apostolic Standards Three crucial decades in world history. That is all it took. In the years between AD 33 and AD 64 a new movement was born. It has had an indelible impact on civilization, on culture, on education, or medicine, on freedom and of course on the lives of countless people worldwide. It all began with a dozen men and a handful of women: and then the spirit came. First century Christianity has much to teach 21 first century Christians..and I see no reason why, if we are prepared to pay the price and follow their example, the gospel they proclaimed and embodied would not again transform society (Michael Green) <ul><li>Relevant Preaching </li></ul><ul><li>Relevant Teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Heightened Intercession </li></ul><ul><li>Intentional Fellowship </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership Development </li></ul><ul><li>Awesome Giving </li></ul><ul><li>Miracles, Wonders, And Signs </li></ul><ul><li>International Focus </li></ul><ul><li>E3 </li></ul>Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the households of God; and are built upon the foundations of the apostles…(Ephesians 2:20)
  18. 18. DEFINING OUR AGENDA WE MUST BE COMPASSIONATE We Must Stop On The Jericho Road The Christian community suddenly came to men who felt deserted. At a time of inflation, the Christian invested large sums of liquid capital in people, at a time of increased brutality, the courage of Christian martyrs was impressive, during public emergencies, such as plague or rioting, the Christian clergy were shown to be the only united group in town, able to look after the burial of the dead and to organize food supplies. Plainly, to be a Christian in 250 brought more protection from one’s citizens than to be a Roman citizen . (Peter Brown) <ul><li>Ex Convicts/Felons </li></ul><ul><li>AIDS/HIV </li></ul><ul><li>Mentally Retarded </li></ul><ul><li>Downsized </li></ul><ul><li>Underemployed </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative Lifestyles </li></ul><ul><li>Non-Nuclear Families </li></ul><ul><li>Elderly & Infirm </li></ul>And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them…(Matthew 14:14)
  19. 19. DEFINING OUR AGENDA WE MUST BE INTELLECTUALLY ENGAGING We Must Undermine The Assumptions Of Modern Culture <ul><ul><li>The variety of faith in antiquity was even greater than it is today. And the early Christians making as they did ultimate claims for Jesus, met the problem of other faiths head-on from the very outset. They did not denounce other faiths, and never syncretized with these other ideologies. If we do not understand and relate to the culture of our times we will not gain a hearing. If we do not challenge the culture of our day we will not bring anyone to faith. (Michael Green ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Post Modernism </li></ul><ul><li>Hip Hop Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Afro Centrism </li></ul><ul><li>Victimology </li></ul><ul><li>Therapeutic Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer Christianity </li></ul><ul><li>Capitalism </li></ul><ul><li>New Age Philosophy </li></ul>Now while Paul waited for them at Athens…certain philosophers of the Epicureans and the Stoics encountered him..(Acts 17:16-18)
  20. 20. DEFINING OUR AGENDA WE MUST EMBRACE EXCELLENCE We Must Stop Tolerating Mediocrity We need to strive for excellence and care about our church property, programming, and publicity because God deserves our best. We, as the local church, are His local franchise within a community. We represent Him. We we do things that reflect a shabby mind-set, we are certainly not representing Him, because God does all things with excellence. When we offer mediocre music, have unfriendly ushers and ho hum services, and then present ourselves as a reflection of God’s love and character, we insult Him. (Five Star Church) <ul><li>In Worship </li></ul><ul><li>In Administration </li></ul><ul><li>In Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>In Business </li></ul><ul><li>In Communications </li></ul><ul><li>In Buildings and Facilities </li></ul><ul><li>In Ministry Programming </li></ul>But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31)
  21. 21. DEFINING OUR AGENDA WE MUST BE MEDIA SAVVY We Must Spread The Message In Every Medium <ul><li>As we enter the 21st century, new maps for uncharted lands will be required to traverse the highly technological landscape of a global community. Evangelists and pastors will need to network to achieve exponential growth in a rapidly changing country. Churches need a biblical compass for effective ministry. Function follows foundation. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>James Davis </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>Cable Television Satellite Radio Internet Streaming Digital Publishing Video On Demand Digital Downloads … .Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and herein do rejoice (Phillippians 1:18)
  22. 22. DEFINING OUR AGENDA WE MUST BE DEMAND INTEGRITY We Must Model Godly Behavior On All Levels Nowhere in the New Testament is the “anointing” listed as a prerequisite for leadership in the local church (Jack Hayford) Likewise, must the deacons be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience, and these first be proved….(1 Timothy 3:8-10) Character Counts Discipline Matters Trust Is Required Loyalty Is Expected Commitment Is Not Optional Sacrifice Is Necessary
  23. 23. DEFINING OUR AGENDA WE MUST THINK GLOBALLY We Must Move Out Of Ghettos One question that the leadership of the church has to ask itself is will it invest most of its time and money and energy in what we used to call the third world, or will it try to pull Europe and North America back from the materialism that is the curse of capitalism?“ The choice may be embodied in the selection of a new pope. In the weeks leading to the conclave, the cardinals will be discussing among themselves not only who should lead, but what the church's priorities are. If they choose a candidate from Africa, or more likely, Latin America, it may signal that their primary concern is with the church in the Southern Hemisphere. Or they could choose a pope from Europe because he can speak convincingly to the West about its growing religious indifference . <ul><li>Cultural Ghettos </li></ul><ul><li>Racial Ghettos </li></ul><ul><li>Denominational Ghettos </li></ul><ul><li>Professional Ghettos </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Ghettos </li></ul>For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16)
  24. 24. DEFINING OUR AGENDA WE MUST BE HOLISTIC We Must Minister To The Whole Person Evangelicalism has been given a hard time in the liberal arts colleges, being depicted as intellectually vacuous, culturally destructive and spiritually simplistic. Evangelicalism is portrayed as something you grow out of, not something you grow up within. I am quite sure that evangelicalism, firmly grounded in the truth and relevance of the Christian gospel, has the potential to extend its influence into the higher education sphere. Not only would this invalidate the seductive stereotypes which are force-fed to our students; it could also lead to the values and beliefs of evangelicalism percolating into areas of our culture where it is at present a silent absence. (Allistar McGrath) Build Housing Parenting Classes Teach Financial Responsibility Teach Healthy Living Encourage Political Participation Build Schools Create Business Leverage Resources Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospers. (3 John 2)
  25. 25. DEFINING OUR AGENDA WE MUST BE OTHERWORLDY We Must Resist The Temptation To Make Earth Heaven If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English evangelicals that abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on earth, precisely because they were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this world. (CS Lewis) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth….(Revelation 21:1) <ul><li>Resist Temptation To Confuse The Church With The Kingdom </li></ul><ul><li>Resist Temptation To Deify Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Resist Temptation To Be Co-opted By Governments or Corporations </li></ul><ul><li>Resist Temptation To Confuse Worldly Success with Spiritual success </li></ul>
  26. 26. DEFINING OUR AGENDA RISKY BUSINESS IS THE ONLY KIND OF BUSINESS THAT GOD IS IN Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27) For without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord. Hebrew 11:6