Churches are notoriously resist to change.  Whether they are watered from the liturgical stream or the pentecostal tributary, churches quickly develop traditions that they embed in stone.  Even a fresh wind of the Spirit can at best bend them for a time, but they anchored by roots of culture and personal preference that make them inward focused.

The inward focus soon leads to irrelevance even in communities where they are known as “First Church.”  Except for the most isolated of locations, they are living in a world of constant change; and without an awareness of those changes and an attempt to engage their unchurched neighbors,  they find themselves on a mission field for which they are ill-equipped to connect new generations with a meaningful faith in Jesus Christ.

This is true of both temperament and technique.  By temperament our churches tend to cultural-despisers instead of counter-cultural lights.  Their message is one of judgment, condemnation,and lament.

Or their techniques are tied a Sunday morning worship service, with worship that looks more like a family reunion than an assembly that clearly worshiping Christ or with sermons that talk about the minutia of doctrinal distinctives instead of the challenge and hope of the Kingdom of God.

We do not live on Walton’s Mountain any more.  In fact, few of us who aging church leaders ever lived their either.

The time is come to take a cue from Paul on Mars Hill, whose cultural awareness and discernment gave him a bridge to reach a culture with the eternal gospel of God.

© 2015 by Stephen L Dunn

Permission is given to reprint this post as long as it is not included in material that is for sale, that it is reproduced in its entirety including the copyright notice, and that a link is provided to this blog.

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