Church Planting Mistakes – Overthinking Contextualisation Can Slow You Down

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HYPOTHESIS – When we overdo our efforts to contextualise, it can slow down the progress of our church plants.

  • Sometimes our efforts to contextualise makes us miss some important things – for example our family life and our own personal ministry style.
  • In the last 10-20 years, contextualisation has become a trendy topic for church planters to engage with.
  • Sometimes it can be problematic with people – it means that we are not natural in how we lead them when we overly contextualise the culture onto them and miss what is actually going on with them.
  • It is possible to oversteer. It is also possible to understeer.
  • Sometimes we can over-read things in culture and be too cautious.
  • If you are not careful you can end up second-guessing yourself, trying to crack a ‘code’ of the culture.
  • You can overdo (or underdo) contextualisation on venue. It may not seem the best thing contextually in Europe to meet in a home, but practically speaking you need to start there. Maybe doing a monthly public meeting too helps. It’s a simple, pragmatic decision that isn’t helped by overthinking.
  • Be aware of what works for your own stage of life.
  • There are big cultural trends that may affect your preaching – but global cities are actually complex… there are lots of different cultures in every city, so contextualisation is an ongoing thing.
  • A big part of contextualisation is highlighting everything that is positive, not just trying to correct what is wrong.
  • Tim Keller talks about A and B doctrines. Talking about things that people are on board with will help give you the credibility to speak about things that need changing.
  • It is harder coming from the outside to bring words of correction to your city too soon.
  • Listening is the key skill to learn.