Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog this!!!

  • Having time on your hands can be extremely profitable if it's used well. I have been in a meeting for much of today but have had a lot of time (since arriving in Birmingham, AL yesterday) to reflect on a number of things. I've also been able to listen to podcasts of a few pastors that I admire. I'm experiencing an amazing 'download' of truly impassioned purpose. To boot, a dear blogging friend of mine wrote a really wonderful post that speaks to the heart of a typical pastors "life in a fishbowl."

    So, here are a few things that I'd like to remind you of today:

  • The culture of a church is merely the vehicle used to carry the information of Christ's love, it is not Christ.
  • We must leverage our culture to fully engage people in the message (information) we have to share. In other words, God really isn't mad at us for introducing drums, electric guitars and hip hop into the church.
  • If the culture of your church eclipses Christ, people's faith will crumble.
  • Whenever we elevate culture above Christ, it's over for us.
  • When you know you want to live in Alaska, you don't waste time in surf shops (you must make a plan for your life that allows you to spend your time doing things that are relevant to that plan)
You might ask, If culture is merely a tool, and we say that we want to be relevant to the culture, doesn't that imply a contradiction, since being relevant requires us to make the culture a priority? Not if you understand the difference between being relevant and being dogmatic about your church culture because you're trying to reach a certain 'type' of person. I would define relevance as meeting the current needs of the people you're called to, and answering the questions that people are actually asking, as opposed to the ones we think they should be asking. Culture on the other hand would be leveraging the tools that are available to our generation of Christian leaders so as to communicate our message more clearly. That means that facebook, blogging, music, lights and youtube are actually not tools of the devil drawing us into sin and away from God. They are merely a language spoken by today's culture, that make it easier for us to connect with people right where they are. Weigh in with your thoughts.


Hope said...

You're always so eloquent and on point! No mincing words and I love that. My mouth usually wants to spout off about the gospel when I talk to someone. God's teaching me to listen to His Spirit and allow my tongue to be tamed. This year I have the honour of teaching Bible School to young adults - needless to say - the Gospel didn't change but my methods sure did. :)

Bret said...

If God is displeased with electric guitars......I'm screwed!

Joseph said...

Hope, like you, I continue to learn and grow. :)

Bret, I bet He would make an exception for you even if it was a sin. :)

Ash said...

Hey the guitar is just the true "harp" of the day. I'm thinking David might have been rock star in today's age!

Thanks for sharing what you're learning, we can all's about the culture of Christ, who reached the "needs" of the people and at the same time offering all of himself, showing us the way to the Father- this we should follow. Wink.

Joey said...

I like that last point Joseph about living in Alaska and shopping in surf shops. What I'm working through is the issue of relevance; but who do I want to be relevant to? Is it young adults, families?

Anonymous said...

"Whenever we elevate culture above Christ, it's over for us."

Vigilance is the key here. It's easy to nod at this notion, but to actually take care and steer away from displeasing Jesus requires vigilance.

The cultural icon, her hair style, and clothes. She must be careful that her influence promotes Jesus above all, who defied in many ways his culture by mingling with tax collectors, Samaritans and the like. Places of influence within her jurisdiction must not be assigned strictly on conformity to her very popular culture... aka: coolness.

In other words, does she mingle with Samaritans, or even just the not-so-cool? Meal time at a retreat is a great gauge for a person's priorities. Who they choose sit near, how exclusively the tables are arranged. Are there big reserved signs on her table and does the band only mingle with the band? If so, I submit that Jesus wouldn't likely be sitting with them. Not when all the others are around. Inner circles are fine, but not when surrounded by a crowd of hungry people. :-)

Short version: Amen.

Joseph said...

Joey, follow your passion! What resonates in your heart? What are you willing to die for? Those are the things that will determine how much you are willing to give up for what you love.

rrrryan, I love those thoughts and I couldn't agree more with what you said. I'd throw out the short version and stick with the original! :)

~C said...

I think it's pretty simple: speak the language of the people. If the people are speaking Facebook, Ipod, Twitter and the like: learn it! If you go to South America, into the jungle, in order to communicate your message, you learn their language. We North Americans are no different. Sure we all speak English - but which dialect? Which medium speaks to us the best at this point in time? Is it written or visual? Do we hear best through the computer or the pastor?

Jesus used parables during his time that would communicate his points to the people who had the heart to hear him. Now it's our job to take his parables and translate them into the language of today. We are to do the things he did only greater. Learn the language!

Great post :)

Joseph said...

Ashley and Christel, well spoken! We are all students in the university of life (wow that sounds so like a cliche) and we will continue to learn and grow, or shrivel up and die. Personally, I opt for the former. :)