Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Coucil Estate Christians 21: Indigenous Christians

Something that I think has been overlooked a lot (in conferences and blogs) is that there are a good number of indigenous Christians living on Council Estates. By indigenous I mean those who were born and raised on council estates, and still live on them.

The reformed community in the UK is presently trying to work out how to cross culturally reach council estates. This is very good news for us.

However, these discussions rarely involve indigenous council estate Christians. I don't know why - we wouldn't have blogs and conferences of white people discussing black people. I don't mean to be rude, I'm sure the intention is good, perhaps people genuinely think that there aren't any indigenous Christians on estates.

In my mind, it seems that one of the best things the reformed churches can do in the UK is to make links with us (council estate Christians from all over the UK). This is something that both Co-mission and Cornhill have done with us (sorry for any others I've missed out). Its something that I hope more groups will do.

Here are some of the benefits of such an approach:

1. Forming symbiotic relationships. Where we recognise that we need each other, and we learn from each other. It doesn't become the mc helping the wc, or the wc helping the mc - instead we have both at the same time.

2. Indigenous theologising - I'll write more on this in a future post.

3. Indigenous leadership - I'll write more on this in a future post.

4. Avoids ethnocentric mission - I think that a lot of well meaning people can sometimes approach mission the wrong way because they are wrongly viewing the people they want to reach. It helps to have some inside people who can tell you, "I don't think that would work," or "that stereotype isn't really accurate."

5. It taps into a (much larger than imagined) number of people who are totally disconnected from the reformed community. For example, I didn't know there were reformed churches in London until Mark Dever did a one day conference in London Sept 2007. I knew there were Pentecostal churches, but didn't know of any reformed ones.