Local Church, Ministry Development

The Vernacular of Sports Outreach

Tim Keller wrote an article in 2011 entitled The Missional Church.  In it, he describes the elements of a missional church.  Below is a short excerpt from the article.  Even though this article is about the missional church, all of the article certainly applies to sports outreach (as it’s local church based and missional).  In fact, everywhere you see the term “missional church”, replace it with “sports outreach ministry” and it translates rather well.

•    In ‘Christendom’ there is little difference between the language inside and outside of the church. Documents of the early U.S. Congress, for example, are riddled with allusions to and references from the Bible. Biblical technical terms are well-known inside and outside. In a missional church, however, terms must be explained.

•    The missional church avoids ‘tribal’ language, stylized prayer language, unnecessary evangelical pious ‘jargon’, and archaic language that seeks to set a ‘spritual tone.’

•    The missional church avoids ‘we-them’ language, disdainful jokes that mock people of different politics and beliefs, and dismissive, disrespectful comments about those who differ with us

•    The missional church avoids sentimental, pompous, ‘inspirational’ talk . Instead we engage the culture with gentle, self-deprecating but joyful irony the gospel creates. Humility + joy = gospel irony and realism.

•    The missional church avoids ever talking as if non-believing people are not present. If you speak and discourse as if your whole neighborhood is present (not just scattered Christians), eventually more and more of your neighborhood will find their way in or be invited.

•    Unless all of the above is the outflow of a truly humble-bold gospel-changed heart, it is all just ‘marketing’ and ‘spin.’

You can read the full article from Tim Keller here.


Bob Schindler