NEW YORK – Pastors and Christian leaders should be unashamed to call out a city for its sin while at the same time working towards peace, said Tim Keller, the lead pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, at the Christian leadership conference called Movement Day.
"We're supposed to be concerned about the peace of the city," said Keller to the crowd. He pointed out that every dimension of a city's existence, including economic and social peace, can only truly be brought by a leader who knows the Word of God.
"Jesus is looking at a city about to kill him and he's calling out their sin," said Keller. In the same way, he encouraged local pastors and leaders attendending the annual event in New York City held at the Marriot Marquis hotel on Thursday to call out the city's sin without gloating or boasting.
Keller explained that by acknowledging that we're all sinners we have an equal view of one another because none can view themselves as better than anyone else.
"There is nothing more egalitarian and hopeful than telling everybody they're sinners," he said.
Christian leaders should be seeking the "shalom," or peace for their own city regardless of what kind of sin is running rampant, according to Keller.
"Only with the eyes of scripture can you know all that there is about your peace," he continued.
Keller believes leaders must sacrifice of themselves for the city's good as Jesus did.
"For Jesus to move into [Jerusalem] is like us moving into a bad neighborhood," said Keller to the leaders. Even though Christ knew he would be killed when he returned to the capital of Israel, he proceeded to enter anyway. It takes that kind of sacrifice to change a city, according to Keller.
Lastly, he explained that leaders should not seek to make a name for themselves or their church while planting, but to lift up the name of Christ.
"You've got the name that will last forever," he said. "Sacrifice, seek peace for your city."
Keller, together with Mac Pier of The New York City Leadership Center helped to create the first Movement Day in 2010 as an event to equip leaders. It was birthed out of research conducted from 1989-2009 which found that Evangelical Christianity had grown 300 percent in those 20 years in New York City.
New churches that had been planted since 1989 played a major role in the exponential growth – 25,000 Christians who lived and worshipped in Manhattan churches. This research prompted the leaders to host the event that to their surprise, attracted Christians not just from New York City, but from 34 states and 14 countries.