Read this article on culture trends. Extremely insightful.
The church must adapt to culture. Jesus did. Paul did. Don’t believe me? Ever wonder why Jesus spoke in parables? Or try reading through the book of Acts and notice how Paul changes his DELIVERY (not his message) depending upon the group of people he was with. Unfortunately, many churches feel conforming to culture means watering down the message or selling out on Jesus (or fill in the blank). Our Sunday morning gatherings are bland, lifeless, and unappealing. Our buildings are outdated, and our approach to the Christian life is narrow. And many church leaders chalk up stagnancy to the fact that they refuse to be influenced by the ever-changing culture. And they do this boastfully!?
The culture is speaking a different language today than even a decade ago, but we refuse to listen. We are scared to death of those millennials and their ideals. They ask too many questions. They do not pledge allegiance to the institution of church just because mom and dad did (here is a great article about the mindset of the millennial generation http://goo.gl/2ymcx). They shun our long held traditions because they often get in the way of the mission. They give more resources (time and money) to organizations rather than the church.
And we could go on and on about this disconnect (but what’s the point, right?). Here’s the reality…the mission of the church is to reach out. The church ceases to be the church when we (as the church) stop reaching out to the world and connecting to those that are hurting, struggling, and do not know Jesus. I heard recently that churches must listen to God with one ear, listen to culture with the other ear, and decide where those two meet. I say Amen!! If the mission is to reach the lost and hurting, the church should be willing to change and adapt in whatever way possible to fulfill its mission (Remember, I already said up front the message does not change, just the delivery of it). If a tradition is hindering our mission…let’s toss it. If our Sunday morning gathering is not geared towards the lost…let’s change it. If a program is sucking resources and not producing results…let’s abandon it. And let’s prayerfully consider the ever-changing culture and how the church can change to impact the world for the name of Jesus.