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Picto:Blog - Missional Contextualization

Missional Contextualization: Why French Press is Better

Picto:Blog - April 3, 2009

by Pastor Scott Thomas


Zoka Coffee - pictoblog missional...

Zoka - one of my Top Ten coffee spots in Seattle (Photo by Scott T)


In Seattle you cannot find a Cracker Barrell--the famous indoor garage sale with gravy on the side. But you can find coffee shops--lots of them, everywhere; places that you have never heard about. Of course, you know that coffee was invented in Seattle--at least the mass marketing of Starbucks was invented there. It's not the best coffee in Seattle. Sorry. It's not even in the top nine. I have the original Starbucks location as #10, just because of the novelty of it.


But going out for coffee is a cultural thing. I mean it's not like you can plan anything outside during the 360-day rainy "season." But you can go to Tully's, Seattle's Best, Cafe Bambino, Verite, Fuel, Java Bean, Cafe Ladro or even Starbucks to meet a friend for a Latte on an overcast day. Seattle people are snobs about their coffee. They can be. They should be. It's a cultural connection. And they need more sunshine to be happy, so they counter it with caffine.


In Nashville, it's music. In Ozark, MO, it's antiques. In Denver, it's skiing and John Elway (I know he retired, but he's the only QB left in Colorado). Every community has their own language and their own world view. The transplants into those communities must learn the "language" of the natives to be integrated, to sell a product or to develop relationships.


If you are a church planter, you have to be understood by the locals in order to communicate with them effectively. A good missionary will communicate in a manner that is understood by the culture in which he ministers. You can't walk in to French-speaking Quebec and start screaming, "Hockey sucks. Y'all Repent!" To be effective, you must learn French, hate America and wear funny hats. Buick released their sedan, La Crosse into Quebec and it was not well received. "La Crosse" is a street slang name in Quebec that is an embarassing sexual connotation. Whoever named that one for Quebecers La rondelle ne roule pas pour lui (The puck isn’t going his way). Some church plants have made the same faux pas with their contextualization of the Good News of Jesus and they wonder why people don't flock in (or stay).


Ed Stetzer said, "Being Missional means actually doing mission right where you are. Missional means adopting the posture of a missionary, learning and adapting to the culture around you while remaining biblically sound" (Ed Stetzer, Planting Missional Churches, 19).


Mark Driscoll said, "It is imperative that Christians be like Jesus, by living freely within the culture as missionaries who are as faithful to the Father and his gospel as Jesus was in his own time and place" (Mark Driscoll, The Radical Reformission, 40).


Here are a few resources to get you started:

Audio Links:

  1. Over 50 audio links from Acts 29 events
  2. Seattle Culture & Demographics (Driscoll)
  3. Contextualization, parts 1 & part 2 (Vanderstelt)
  4. Dwelling Incarnationally (Mason):
  5. Dwelling with Non-Christians (Patrick):


  1. Jonathan Dodson - Contextualization and Conversion
  2. Tim Keller - Getting Upstream to Transform the City.
  3. Tim Keller's "A New Kind of Urban Christian"
  4. Tim Keller's "Evangelism Through Networking"
  5. Tim Keller's "Redeemer Vision Paper 6: Christians and Culture"
  6. Winfield Bevin's "Missional Christianity"


  1. Ed Stetzer: Planting Missional Churches
  2. Radical Reformission: Mark Driscoll
  3. Cities of God: The Real Story of How Christianity Became an Urban Movement and Conquered Rome by Rodney Stark


Next Boot Camp: San Diego, CA

Host: Kaleo Church

New Life Presbyterian Church
5333 Lake Murray Blvd.                   
La Mesa, CA  91942


 Missional Influence: Multiplying Leaders on Mission for the Gospel

Cost: $149 each | $99/couple for assessment (Must have Phase 1 completed in the application process with Acts 29)


To Register click HERE






Cameron Farris

on Apr 3, 2009 :: 2:56 pm

Great article Scott, thanks for the resource list, too bad about Cutler, I will take Elway at 50 he probably is still better than most

Lee Gunter

on Apr 3, 2009 :: 4:43 pm

Have you ever actually posted this top 10 list? I need to see it. I only have a top 3 so far....