Does one size fit all? Let’s take a look at the local church and responding to a diverse body of people in today’s rapidly changing and globalized society.
Jan Paron/August 8, 2010
Too often, the church does not recognize the unique distinctions of the people it tries to reach. Recently I read Dan Kimball’s book, They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations. In his book’s introduction, Kimball spoke about the fact that the current culture is increasingly postmodern (2007). This culture is not aligned with the euro-centric perspective and Judeo-Christian values and ethics upon which the United States was founded.
While the North American church’s attempt at addressing the shift towards the postmodern is illustrated by good intentions, nonetheless it seems that the church frequently responds from its own ecclesiocentric understanding, from that of the dominant western European culture. Those people who do not reside within the euro-centric and Judeo-Christian schema, of which many churches operate, are left behind.
Thus, the North American church must reflect on the following considerations to respond to people in today’s society. First, the church should minister with a perspective attuned to the broader context of culture. Second, it must adapt delivery of the Gospel through different communication styles. I am not advocating that the local church change the content of the salvation message or biblical principles –The Bible is God’s inerrant, authoritative Word–Rather, the church should alter practices that don’t reach people with the message. One size does not fit all.
There certainly has been much discussion on the subject of adapting to postmodern society in Christian venues, but the subject requires continual dialogue.
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you (1 Cor 9:19-23 KJV)
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