Back in July, I attended the Every Nation Dream 2011 conference in Florida. I posted my notes on two previous talks, but never got around to posting my notes for Ed Stetzer’s second talk. It’s definitely worth thinking over, as he covered what he described as God’s intention for the church.
His messaged was entitled The Church of God’s Intent.
Stetzer gave five descriptors under which he laid out the pillars of the church, as God intended her. His five points were that the church (and churches) should be a biblically faithful, mission-driven, culturally relevant, counterculture community for the Kingdom of God.
Biblical Fidelity (Ps. 127:1)
- Unless the Lord builds it, the workers labor in vain.
- Remember first of all, Jesus will build his church.
- We cannot assume fidelity to the Word of God.
- The Word of God gives us the direction of God to accomplish the work of God.
- Building on the Word creates a foundation upon which the church can thrive.
- A skewed view of this can result in the “spiritually amish” or not being on the mission of God.
Mission Driven (Jn. 20:21)
- We are blessed with the Gospel to be a blessing.
- We have been sent just as Jesus was sent.
- We are ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:16-21). The goal is not to live in the embassy, but to go and represent your kingdom.
- We are messengers of reconciliation, not the means thereof.
Culturally Relevant (1 Cor. 9:22-23)
- We have to live as sent to when and where we are.
- Don’t get caught up in demographic lust and community envy.
- Movements birthed in the Boomer era have struggled to reach the next generation.
- How is it that a person becomes a Christian? It must be more than a cultural shift, but a heart change.
- Jude 3 – Never stop contending for the faith.
- Contend and contextualize. Don’t run from the hard teaching, but do make it understandable.
Countercultural Community (1 Pet. 2:9)
- It is a problem when we live like the world (with regard to sin) but look different (with regard to culture and style).
- Scripture calls us to look similar but live radically different (e.g. caring for widows and orphans).
- God always chooses a people and then puts them on display.
- We should not be defined by our hairstyle or clothing but by how we live.
For the Kingdom of God (Matt. 3:2)
- The church does not have a mission so much as God’s mission has a church.
- We have been made citizens of a new Kingdom.
- God has always been in rightful rule of the universe.