A letter from Pastor Mike
What does it mean to be an Evangelical?
According to The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the distinctives of evangelicalism are defined like so:
Conversionism: the belief that lives need to be transformed through a “born-again” experience and a life long process of following Jesus.
Activism: the expression and demonstration of the gospel in missionary and social reform efforts.
Biblicism: a high regard for and obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority.
Crucicentrism: a stress on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as making possible the redemption of humanity.
Basically, we believe in Conversion, Action, The Word, and The Cross. But wait, I thought you had to vote a certain way and live a predominantly euro-centric lifestyle? So what does an Evangelical look like? It’s a lot more ordinary, and a lot more radical, than we might think.
Here is my charge to the uncommon family of South City Church
As your pastor, I ask that you not only consider how to be a member of an “Uncommon Family” but consider also how you can show yourself to be an “Uncommon Evangelical” to your community. South City Church is an evangelical church, but sometimes becoming a member of an evangelical church is taken to mean “we have finally found a place to hide from weak theology and all the evils that it creates and supports.” Correction, brothers and sisters, we ain’t hidin’ from nobody. It’s time to take The Word to the streets.
This weekend our church, local community and city will remember the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, August 9th 2014. Our church is playing a role in this weekend’s actions to remember that tragic day with peaceful activities. This honors the wishes of the Brown family, and those of local organizers, that there be no violence in the name of Michael Brown – now or ever. This is the right way to protest: standing with people from all backgrounds and declaring that we seek restoration of broken relationships, and a righting of wrongs that will bring hope and thriving to everyone in our communities.
Let’s be uncommon evangelicals
Let’s be about conversionism: Be present in the community year round, not just when the press might to be in area. True evangelicalism is a calling for our church to have a ministry of our presence in the community after we as a church witness the ministry of His presence in the sanctuary. To fully devote ourselves to following the example of Jesus, we gather in our church home for fellowship with each other, and we open our home to fellowship with the people around us.
Let’s be about activism: Let’s educate ourselves about social issues like same-sex marriage and what it means to be fully pro-life, not just anti-abortion. Let’s be quick to listen, slow to judge. Engage in conversations surrounding ethnic division, gender and generational bias and power dissonance. And then commit to action. Even though it means discomfort, and though it may mean we are poor or unpopular, we have to do what is right. Let’s commit to a gospel-shaped activism that checks attitude at the door, and re-evaluates motives when we are more concerned with A+ preaching and less concerned with D- daily life.
Let’s be about biblicalism: Devote yourself to God’s word. There is no substitute, supplemental resource for answering life’s profound questions. Part of evangelicalism is meditating on God’s word for our own health and that of others. Every time social issues overtake and divide the people of God in scripture, the central failure of the people is that they have not heeded the Word or taught it to their children, because they have forgotten its importance. That made it impossible for them to preach the Word, let alone be directed by it.
Let’s be about crucicentrism: We must keep preaching Jesus, and Uncommon Savior,” an “Uncommon King” who touched the leper, preached to the troubled Pharisee about being born again, talked to the adulterous woman, who was descended from Moabites and Jews, who called himself the Son of Man, who understood being called names, who spoke so much truth to the authorities it cost him His life, who would agree that Black Lives Matter, who is the only one who can “Let Justice Roll Down”.
This is what we long to be; a family united by the gospel; a family filled with the Spirit who leads us to proclaim the gospel in every place, in every way.
What does an “Uncommon Evangelical” look like? My Answer: You.
Love, Mike Higgins