One of Keller’s ‘big ideas’ is that:
"the most crucial event in the life of our church is the moment a Christian comes
to worship and says, “I want my sceptical friends to see this!"
It is not that he’s on about ‘seeker services’ where the whole thing is geared to the outsider. He has a fantastic line where he says;
"If the Sunday service and sermon are aimed primarily at evangelism, it will bore the saints. If they aim primarily at education, they will bore and confuse unbelievers. If they aim at praising the God who saves by sheer grace they will both instruct the saint and challenge the sinners."
How is it achieved then? Keller says it’s about:
- Worshipping as if non-Christians are present before they really are
- Use music and language that is ‘inclusive’ for your community
- Employ noble simplicity of language (not sentimental, austere, archaic or colloquial)
- Solve people’s problems with the gospel
As I think about our situation at St Mark’s:
- I’ve always worked pretty hard at 1) and the language bit of 2).
- I wonder what sort of music is ‘culturally inclusive’ for non-Christians living in North West Sydney. More than that, I fear that it is the music of Hillsong, which drives me nuts (I’m talking the music, rather than the lyrics, which drive me way further than ‘nuts’)
- I wonder if 3) is a specifically NY thing
- I need to think more deeply about what the problems are that are most real for people in NW Sydney.
- I am thankful to Peter Jensen and Richard B. Hays, who both wrote things that really helped me to think through how we do 4)
- There are things I wouldn’t want to change about church, even if it made it more likely that people would invite their friends – but I need to be pretty sure that’s about gospel imperative and not just my personal preference.