The City or the Small town?

Posted: March 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

Recently I posted an article by someone who works within the Acts 29 churchplanting ministry, which was started by Mark Driscoll.  In the article he discusses how in the screening process for churchplanters, he is noticing a trend:

“And as I’ve looked at some amazing plans from church planters, I’ve started to notice a trend. They all sound the same.

It seems as the unique vision that God’s given so many church planters is almost identical. Phrases like “gospel-centered”, “missional”, and “cultural renewal” are littered throughout their proposals. It seems that the phrase “In the City. For the City.” or some variation of such has become church planting boilerplate.”

First off, I don’t see anything wrong with any of their phrases.  Gospel-centered?  Versus false teaching centered?  Shouldn’t we be thankful that God is raising up a group of young churchplanters who are “Gospel-centered”?  Missional and Cultural renewal?  These are also in the same vein. Don’t we want people who are missions minded, looking to redeem their culture as God called the Jews in Babylon in Jeremiah 29 to do?

But, I don’t think that is the hard part for people to hear. It is the language that has to do with the city.  For starters, I do feel that God has called me to a large city. I don’t know if it will be churchplanting or what, but I hear the heart of these men and I say “amen”.  I would be cautious to say that this movement is built off of personalities, but lets say it is.  Wasn’t the Reformation built off of Luther? The Great Awakening off of men like Edwards, Whitefield, and Wesley?  Wasn’t Spurgeon used by God greatly in England? In each movement that God brings, you have distinct personalities that God raises up as leaders.  And in this case, you have Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll, both of whom I love and respect.

I would commend to you a book by Driscoll called “Confessions of a Reformission Rev.” and a sermon by Tim Keller titled “Should I not love this great City?”.

In the book Driscoll discusses how there was a huge movement AWAY from the cities by churchplanters and missions organizations for years.  That is one of the reasons small towns have so many churches!  There is a major need in cities for sound churches.  If you compare the number of people in a small town to the number of churches, then do the same comparison with a city, you will see what I mean.

Tim Keller goes much more in depth in a shorter amount of time.  His sermon is less than forty minutes long, and I am posting the address below. I highly recommend you listen to it to understand his very biblical support of focusing your missions on cities.

I am cutting this short, because I can’t do the justice that Keller does.  His argument is sound, biblical, and logical.  He doesn’t say there should be no Christians in small towns, but that the Church as an institution should be focusing it’s resources to cities.  After listening to the sermon, I would be interested to hear replies to it.

  1. Rusty says:

    Hey Larry,
    I haven’t listened to the Keller sermon yet (I think I’ve actually heard it before or excerpts of it) but I just read this morning a good article by Kevin DeYoung about the “uncool people…” article.

    He gives a good and charitable synopsis of the debate and I think he’s right on. He points out the extremes on both sides that we all tend to fall to and provides much needed balance and perspective. Far better and more productive than my frustrated melodramatic response 🙂

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