September 21, 2020

iMonk 101: Previous Posts on Missional Churches + Bob Hyatt + Ed Stetzer on Culture

foundation-2-1.jpgHere are some previous posts on issues relating to the missional church.

Missional Isn’t A Bad Word. This is my most extensive discussion of the missional church question.

The Missionary Headache: Why Evangelicals Need to Support the Missionaries Among Us.

This is a piece I wrote last year as I was beginning to grapple with what I was hearing from missional thinkers.

Suggestions for Critics of the Emerging Church. A similar piece, dealing more with how I was working through how “missional” and “emerging” were not the same thing.

Why Mark Driscoll Bothers You….or Not.

Some missional lessons from Mark Driscoll and his approach at Mars Hill Church.

You also need to download Bob Hyatt’s ten page outline (.doc) on “What is the missional church?”

Ed Stetzer’s blog has a post called: Why Cultural Relevance is a Big Deal. It’s a different view on culture than you are going to get from the people who are completely blind to their own immersion in culture, but judgmentally sensitized to what’s wrong in everyone else’s culture.

The fight goes on. Like a giant tug of war, each side is pulling hard. The battle lines: Cultural relevance versus biblical faithfulness—a classic tyranny of the “OR.” Yes, cultural relevance can be confusing.

On the one hand, the church can be so focused on cultural relevance that it loses its distinctive message. Don’t think it won’t happen—it has happened to countless churches and denominations. On the other hand, it can decide that culture does not matter. That leads to a church whose message is indiscernible and obscure to those who are “outside.” Let me propose an alternative: our churches need to be biblically faithful, culturally relevant, counter culture communities.

Not everyone buys into what I’ve just said. Whole ministries exist just to tell you not to pay attention to culture. To them, a virtuous church is one that is culturally irrelevant. In their view, a mark of holiness is not just being disconnected from sin but also being disconnected from sinners and the culture they share with us every day.

Preaching against culture is like preaching against someone’s house—it is just where they live. The house has good in it and bad in it. Overall, culture can be a mess—but (to mix metaphors) it is the water in which we swim and the lens through which we see the world. And the gospel needs to come, inhabit, and change that and every culture (or house).


  1. centuri0n says

    An interesting thing, which you have again overlooked, in the Stetzer blog article you linked was this:

    Contextualizing does not mean that your church needs to look like Northpoint (Atlanta) or Mosaic (LA). It may mean something very different, and a culturally relevant church in your community may look very different from culturally relevant churches in other communities. Yet, many of us miss that. Why? Because too many leaders pastor their churches in their heads and not in their communities. But the truth is, if you can’t pastor the people God has given you (not the ones He’s given Andy Stanley or Erwin McManus), then you don’t love them. John Knox said, “Give me Scotland or I die.” He had a passion for the people of Scotland. We need to have the same passion for the people where we are, and to love them and their culture.

    Why say that bold part, iMonk? And why then ignore it?

    Isn’t Dr. Stetzer saying frankly that “missional” does not mean “just like X” but “in the way the locals will receive it”?

    So in that, why do you chide anyone for making that exact same point about what Dr. Stetzer says “many of us miss that”.