that’s a good question and i want to offer a fairly broad answer (we’ll get to even more specifics in future posts).
any good organization—be it a business or a church—has some sort of statement that expresses what its about and what it’s trying to accomplish. a mission statement serves as a unifying expression that puts everyone on the same page. so, we at eikon have a statement that hopes to do just that. as we certainly don’t want some kind of stuffy formal statement, we think we have a statement that expresses the unique spirit of eikon while creating a common mission for our community. so, here it is:
engaging culture with christ in the context of the city.
with the mission statement, we want to incorporate several key concepts that help to focus and unify our community. first, we want to denote that there’s a distinct culture present within our community. mainly, this culture is a young, emerging, creative community. by using the word culture, we’re also making clear that we don’t view culture—much like the type of thought that has been prevalent in the church for a very long time—as evil or something to stay away from, but rather; it’s something we affirm and utilize. specifically, when we refer to culture, we are including music, art, film, the socially normal mode and rhythm of living, literature, social gathering places and other aspects of social and common culture.
one key distinction, though, is that we don’t simply use culture for culture’s sake. the key comes in the fact that we want to view and engage culture through the a theological lens—through the lens of christ. that doesn’t mean we walk around trying to see images of jesus and mary burned into pieces of toast or smoke clouds :), but it does mean that we see that god is present everywhere and has left his creative mark in all forms of culture—whether it’s the “pretty” or even the “ugly” parts of culture. let me offer an example.
contemporary christian music has done very little—culturally and artistically speaking—to engage me (and many others) in a way that leads to theological growth and discovery. on the other hand, some of the most rich and theological songs i know are “secular” (for lack of a better word) songs. one of my favorites is everclear’s why i don’t believe in god. lyrically, everclear—who certainly don’t profess to be followers of christ—have made such a profound and stark statement about god and religion and the church and culture. by engaging culture with christ, it means hearing a song like this and being able to connect with the ongoing story of god and not just see it as some sort of disconnected and unfortunate commentary by some disaffected rock band. there’s a certain potential redemptive quality in hearing this that helps us to see the reality of the world around us and shows us how we can connect with it.
finally, our mission specifies that our community is conditioned by a specific context. namely, the context is the city. this may seem like a minor or obvious distinction, but it truly focuses and defines our mission. simply put, life in the context of the city is vastly different than the suburbs or small towns. the people and culture and rhythm of the city help to define whom we reach, how we reach them and what style of ministry is effective and relevant. as we’ve stated in a previous post, we love little rock and it’s an important character in our story.
so, as the church starts to take more tangible shape, i want to invite you to be a part of this mission that’s going on here in little rock. stay tuned for more updates as we begin to near the time of actually having gatherings and as more information unfolds.