What does it mean to be missional?
Bottom-line it means: We are a church "for" the city/culture/people
where God has placed us-San Diego-Tijuana-and through it the world.
Some churches are "of" the culture. They so embrace the culture that they lose their distinctiveness.
Some churches are "against" the culture. They so oppose the culture that they lose their relevance.
And some churches are "above" the culture. They so "super-spiritualize" life that they lose their point of contact.
On the other hand, a church "for" the culture engages the culture in order to transform it.
The following commitments are based on Tim Keller's paper entitled "The Missional Church" (June 2001).
Kaleo's City-Focused Commitments
1. We resolve to learn and speak the language of our culture.
We resolve to avoid speaking ‘Christianese', 'holy-huddle' talk, pious prayer language, in-house 'jargon', and ‘super-spiritual' talk.
We resolve to avoid technical theological terms, unless we explain them.
We resolve to avoid ‘we-them' language, language that belittles people of different political, spiritual, social positions, or is disrespectful of people who we disagree.
We resolve, instead to engage people by humbly admitting our weaknesses and failures, while demonstrating the joyful difference the Gospel makes.
We resolve never to talk as if non-Christians weren't present.
We resolve to do this not as an out-reach strategy but as the fruit of a Gospel-changed heart.
2. We resolve to sincerely listen to people and their ‘stories'.
We resolve to understand, love and respect them unconditionally, and serve them by showing them how the Gospel meets their deepest longings.
To do this we resolve to have a knowledge and appreciation of the culture's movies, books, music, etc., in order to understand the culture's hopes, dreams, stories, and fears. So, we can show people that only Jesus can fulfill their greatest desires.
3. We resolve to be a Christian community that is counter-cultural/intuitive.
We resolve to show the world how radically different a Christian society is with regard to relationships, sex, money, and power.
Regarding relationships: We resolve to celebrate diversity and cultivate unity-to radically love each other-so that the world will see the difference Jesus makes. We resolve when there is conflict we will not just walk away but we will actively work at reconciliation with one another.
Regarding sex: We resolve to avoid the extremes of idolizing sex and fearing sex. Instead we will hold a glorious view of sex in marriage as a pointer to intimacy with Christ. We also resolve in regards to people whose sexual lifestyles are different than ours, that we will show love rather than hostility or fear.
Regarding money: We resolve to be radically generous in our giving of time, money, skills, and relationships to working for social justice and caring for the poor, weak and needy.
Regarding power: We resolve to share power and build friendships between different races and classes.
We resolve to be more involved in deeds of mercy and social justice than traditional liberal churches and at the same time more involved in evangelism and church planting than traditional conservative churches.
4. We resolve to live out our Christianity in our work and recreation.
We resolve to learn together how to think, do, and be distinctively Christian in our work and recreation.
We resolve to learn: a) what in our culture is good and can be enjoyed and celebrated, b) what in our culture is anti-Gospel and must be rejected, and c) what in our culture can be renewed and adapted for good.
We resolve to encourage and celebrate Christians who are advancing the "kingdom of God" in the public square.
We resolve to show Gospel love and tolerance toward those with whom we strongly disagree with. One of the biggest criticisms of Christians is that we are intolerant. But since we are saved by grace, we should be the most humble, tolerant people in society. And so we resolve to be.
5. We resolve to demonstrate the unity of the church in the city.
We resolve to celebrate what God is doing in other churches, instead of criticizing other churches.
We resolve to develop alliances with other like-minded churches in order to serve our city together.
We resolve, beyond that, to cooperate and develop meaningful relationships even with congregations much different than us. Although this will raise some areas of tension, we will continue to head in the direction of cooperation.