Culture Shift: Being Relevant with the Times!
"And the sons of Issachar understood the times."
In this season we must ask for the pen of a ready writer, that we write accurately, clearly the appropriate memorandum for our age.
I came into worship the past 5th Sunday and "Take Da City" was leading praise and worship. They were invoking His presence and lifting up the Savior. A strong anointing fell and was flowing. The people were exalting their God with the fruit of their lips and the lifting of hands. It dawn on me that the last two songs that were sung I didn't know, nor had I heard them before. God whispered in my ear, you don't have to know every song, that's what makes you ministry "relevant," (appropriate, applicable, germane, pertinent) but you have release the liberty of expression for every generation, to give me praise. There's 5 generations in every ministry that shares their unique expression of praise.
This whole culture and world view is really sort of a Catch 22. How you and I look at the world is largely shaped by the culture around us, and our culture is largely shaped by our world view. We are immersed in culture, just like a fish is immersed in water. The culture around us is made up of the sum of everything that is out there. You need to know that culture is not a neutral thing. It is a part of the fallen Creation. The danger for you and I is to become so attached and so enamored with the culture around us that we actually become captive to it. When that happens, the first victim is our world view. We begin to get out of touch with God's reality.
"Steep your life in God-reality, God initiative, God-provision. Don't' worry about missing our. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met."
We must learn to base our world view on something from outside of the culture. In Scripture, God comes to us, from outside of time and space and human ideology, and He gives us the lens through which we can rightly see what is real and true. To have a Biblical world view is to view the entirety of life through the lens of God's Word.
Paul had a Biblical world view, and he winds up on Mars Hill in Athens engaging the non-Biblical culture around him with that Biblical world view. But he is only able to do that because Paul has immersed himself in the Word of God. Paul has been a life-long student of the Bible, and that has shaped his reality. We say "Yeah, we've got a Biblical world view." But the truth is, folks, many if not most Christians today are tremendously undereducated when it comes to the Bible, thus depriving them of the critical tools they need to bring their faith in a relevant way to engage the culture around them.
Studies show that 2/3 of committed Christians say that there is no such thing as absolute truth.
How in the world are you and I in a real effective way, going to be able to take our Biblical faith and engage a post-modern, egocentric, post-Christian, techno-geek culture without it/them getting the best of us? The same way Paul addressed a pre-modern, egocentric, pre-Christian techno-Greek culture there on Mars Hill. (Acts 17:22-24; 29-30)You and I must immerse ourselves in the Word of God. You become a life-long student of the Bible, and you make a commitment - a commitment that you are going to place God's Word above every other thing in your life in terms of the lens through which you will view life.
"I've decided to keep preaching the unadulterated Word of God until preaching becomes popular again."
Christianity has dropped more than 11% in a generation.
v The Bible Belt is less Baptist
v The Rust Belt is less Catholic
Everywhere else more people are exploring spiritual frontiers - or falling off the faith map completely. 15% are (none's)
Seth Godin in his book entitled "The Dip." Gives to us what I see as a relevant position that we need to consider. He says the old saying was wrong. "Winner do quit, quitters do win."
1. Dip - a temporary set-back that you will overcome if you keep pushing
2. Cul-de-sac - it will never get better, no matter how hared you try.
What set superstars apart from everyone lese is the ability to escape "dead ends" quick while staying focused and motivated when it really counts. Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without quilt - until they commit to beating the right "dip" for the right reason.
You must become #1 in your "niche."
Clinging to policies, tradition, conventional thinking and the old ways do not work in a new world. You can't do 8 track Church in an I-Pod generation.
Godin says, you must come up with a "Purple Cow." Success is to find a way to stand out - to be remarkable in a field of monochrome. (neutral, colorless, dull) We must go to the extreme and the edges and make a Purple Cow, because everyone has seen a brown cow or a black cow, but a "purple cow." What set your ministry apart from everyone else?
"Is the Distance going to make a Difference?"
No one ever gets to his or her destination by looking in the rearview mirror. Your future is ahead of you not behind you.
The 21st Century Church requires a Balance in:
5. Structure, yet Flexible
John Kotter (Harvard) - "Our Ice-burg Is Melting" It's a wonderful fable about these "Emperor Penguin's" colony living in the Antarctica, doing well in a ever-changing world. One "curious" bird discovers a potentially devastating problem threatening there home (no one listens to him). There tale is one of "resistance to change and heroic actions."
Handling the Challenge of change well and you can prosper greatly. Handle it poorly; you put yourself and others at risk.
Marshall Goldsmith - "What Got You Here Won't Get You There."
"Whether you are near the top of the ladder or still have a way to climb, you must eliminate your dysfunctions and move to where you want to go."
These Three Questions
1. What's Holding You Back? - What is it that's' between you and the next level of achievement. (one annoying habit, a behavior you barely even recognize) It may be that the very characteristic that you believe got you where you are - like the drive to win at all costs - is the one that is holding you back.
2. Who Can Help? -
3. What Is The Solution?
"Happy are they that can hear their distractions and put them to mending."