Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tim Keller Manual - "the vision thing"

Back when I was doing the management consulting gig, ‘the vision thing’ was pretty important. When I got involved in pastoral ministry I discovered that churches had picked up on this too – we just didn’t do it very well (and when we tried we often seemed to chuck out large slabs of our theology, but that’s a post for another time).


I like the way Keller does the vision because it pretty much works for both the ‘me who used to be a management consultant’ and ‘the me who reads the Bible and wants to let God set the agenda’.


What is good about Keller’s? The management consultant in me loves the fact that it is:

  • Clear
  • Concrete and tangible
  • Big
  • Compelling and engaging of the imagination

The guy who reads the Bible in me loves the fact that it is:

  • About the transforming power of the gospel
  • Really an outward expression of the prayer ‘Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven’
  • Involves a clear expectation that faith bears concrete, tangible, and tasty fruit

The only thing I think is missing is that the overriding goal of this is the honour and glory of Jesus (which the rest of the manual makes clear is the think for which Keller’s heart longs).

So what is it? It is:

To see the gospel applied in such a way that it would transform the city so as
to change it spiritually, socially and culturally and through it to change our
society and the world.
This would involve change in the overall level of
civility, family structures, race and class relationships and the cultural work
being produced.

He gives concrete, tangible illustrations of what each of these (i.e. civility, family structures, race and class relationships and culture) would involve in practice (e.g. dramastically reduced crime, Ex-gay a proven and respected path, yet active homosexuals not bashed, more marriages and healthier ones, literally hundreds of community development projects, foundations for the arts producing works inspired by the revelation of Christ)

The other great thing is that when he started Redeemer, it was with a concrete, 20 yr plan to implement this vision, and then he just started doing it. He did not imagine that the mere creation of a vision counted.

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