The dilemma you don’t need to have

So, one of the dilemmas people sometimes struggle with when thinking about urban mission is that they want to communicate the Gospel and that means teaching the Bible but that means using words, reading, speaking to the mind and will that end up being intellectual and not speaking to those we want to reach. 

Here are the two missteps in that dilemma. First, I assume that working class people cannot cope with expository teaching and deep thinking. They can, even if they may not approach it in the same way as your stereotypical academic.

Secondly, I link “word” ministry with abstract concepts and intellectualism. I start saying that propositional teaching is bad and we must just roll with story telling.

Now here’s the thing. I read Paul’s letters and he writes to all types of people, some are doing well but others are workers, slaves, the vulnerable and the poor. He doesn’t just tell stories. He uses intense, carefully reasoned logic. He is very much a propositional type of guy,

But he isn’t abstract or academic. He talks about  farmers, soldiers and athletes, he uses examples from work and commerce, wages, reckoning, gifts etc, he uses personal testimony and he tells stories about historical characters.

It is possible to have rich expositional and propositional preaching that speaks to hearts and minds and it is possible to do this in urban working class contexts  too.