Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cultural Relevance vs. Cultural Immersion

There are a few things under my skin right now regarding the behavior of "the Church" (including Pastors), but without getting on that soapbox I'd like to expound a little on my thoughts regarding the Church and our American Culture.
I believe with out a doubt that the Church today has to be culturally relevant.  If we're still acting like the Church of 1950, then we will only reach the people still living in the 1950's.  With that said, I will say I believe there's a difference between being relevant and being immersed in the culture.
For example, let's look back into the bible and pick a people group.  Off the top of my head, I'll pick the Romans.  I haven't done an in depth study on their culture, but I do know they were a bit risque and a whole lot more liberal than I've been raised! :) But let's consider planting a church/revitalizing a dead church in Rome.  One of the main topics to consider is, "How can we present the gospel in a way these people can understand it?" or "How can we be culturally relevant?"
Since the Romans were into all kinds of sex related stuff, we could start a series on "Sex and the Marriage Bed" and begin introducing them to a biblical approach to sex.  This is what I would consider culturally relevant.
Or...we could go to their bath houses and engage in their "talk", build "relationships", and enjoy the entertainment at their "parties", etc.  All the while waiting for the opportunity to share Jesus with them at an appropriate time, because bible thumping is sooo yesterday and old school.  We're not into that. (Can I just say here, that I'm thankful we're past the bible thumping days!) I would consider this approach Cultural Immersion.
Now I know what you are thinking...you would never do the bath house approach while some of you are thinking the bath house approach is right on.  Here's my thought, I am disturbed by a trend I am seeing where the Church is becoming more and more immersed in culture and less and less different.  It is possible to be culturally relevant without being culturally immersed.
In my opinion, cultural immersion looks like the unchurched, walks like the unchurched, talks like the unchurched.  Hmmmm, have WE become the unchurched?
Cultural relevance looks like the unchurched, talks like God, walks like God. Hmmmmm, maybe we are different? maybe we are holy like God is holy?
things to think about...would love to have your opinion!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Does Integrity affect your life?

I'll have to admit integrity is what's on my mind these days. I recently had interaction with an individual who has really brought to the forefront how important integrity is. The bad thing is it was their lack of integrity that pushed me toward the revelation.

Now I understand that people want to look good in other people's eyes. I'm guilty of the same desires. I want everyone out there to like me and think I'm a fabulous person. But at the same time, I won't compromise my standards and manipulate the truth to make myself look good.

Integrity is probably the most powerful tool a leader has in building character. If you don't have integrity you'll never have the kind of leadership people want to follow. Maybe from afar you look good, but when people get close, they'll know. It won't take long for people to figure out its just a facade. You're a fake. A rather harsh reality, but true none the less.

As a leader I guard my decision making process. I value other peoples opinions, even if it ticks me off or make me feel uncomfortable. In my opinion, nothing is more important than surrounding yourself with people who will tell you the truth. The Bible tells us that the truth is what makes us free. I would rather have the truth and feel uncomfortable than lack integrity.

What about you? How does integrity or the lack thereof affect your life?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Is your door open?

Out of simple circumstance I have recently been put in a position that has required me to be in touch with Pastors in my area. I will have to say this has not been an easy task.

Biggest obstacle? Can't find them! There's no one at the church. No numbers to contact them just leave a message on an ancient answering machine. OMG!

Next obstacle, when I do locate a pastor, it's next to impossible to have a moment with them. Now, I'm not talking about having an in depth counseling session. I'm talking about five to ten minutes of information exchange. I have found that pastors are too busy doing their "work" to talk to me.

I certainly don't negate that as pastors we must set aside time to prepare for our services. But if our time preparing for services has turned us into people who live in a bubble. I have to wonder if we are truly being effective. Can we even relate to the "real" world that our congregations experience everyday?

I feel that an open door policy is a must have in ministry. What's your opinion?

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Monday, March 1, 2010

In the midst of transition

For over a year now God has been totally and completely rocking my world. Now, I'm the kind of person who needs structure. I don't mind being flexible, but when I have no boundaries at all I don't seem to do so well! (yikes :-0)

Little by little I have turned over my administrative duties to our associate pastor and I've been completely content with that part of the transition. The part that I have not been so content about is the "Now what?" part. It seems to me that God has been silent about the next step.

With that in mind you might be able to imagine my giddiness when yesterday at lunch with a friend I watched God crack the door to the next step ever so slightly. :)

NO, I'm not going to tell you what the next step is (because quite frankly I have no idea what it is)! What I do know is that even in my frustration of the unknown God gave me what I needed to know for the moment! I was beginning to wonder if I had lost my contentment. Today I can honestly say "No, I haven't." That in itself makes me content. :)

So, I will continue to live moment by moment knowing that God is doing His thing, whatever that is, and I will be ready to move when He says move. I am so thankful He loves me more than I can even begin to understand. :)

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I'm so embarrassed. I would sooo like to hide my face right now and not let anyone know. I truly can't stand it when I make mistakes. I'm not a warped kind of perfectionist that has to have every dot n tittle micro managed. I don't have my home perfectly organized and my desk looks like somebody works there (not sure who since most of the time it's not me!). But I do like to be right. I like to make good decisions and I like to take pride in those good decisions. When I do something stooo-pid. I would like nothing more than for NO ONE on the face of the earth to know about it!!

Today I find myself angry. First, I was angry with "them". It was obviously their fault. If they wouldn't have got all uptight about the situation, it would have taken care of itself. Then, I was mad at "others" who aren't even involved. But, by George, if that problem wasn't there, then I wouldn't be in this situation, its all their fault! That worked for just a few minutes while I cried like a baby and blamed others. Then after about 30 minutes of mentally pointing the finger at everyone else but me, I finally faced the truth.

The hard cold truth is I have no one to blame but myself. If I would have made better decisions in the past I wouldn't be in the situation I'm in right now. When I was bawling like a baby, it was because I was mortified, blaming everyone else justifies my position, and eases the pain...for a moment. The facts are...even after blaming "others" and "them"...the situation is still there...still glaring me in the face.

So here I go...facing my own ugly truth...I was wrong. OUCH! You have no idea how much that pains me. I just hate being wrong. :-(

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Matter of Obedience

It's been so long ago I can't even remember when it was, but years ago I was told, "Do the last thing God told you to do until told to do otherwise." At the time I accepted it and moved on. I have even used this phrase to make decisions over the years as well as taught it to people under my leadership.

Recently I have been at a crossroads and needed to make a decision which way to turn. I pulled out the old phrase and applied it. A few days later while pondering my decision it occurred to me that possibly I had been wrong by just accepting this phrase at face value. So I decided to re-evaluate what I had been taught, compare it to the bible and see what happens.

I chatted with a couple of people who are founded in the word, exchanged some ideas, and I have come to this conclusion. Even though the statement can't be "proved" in the bible with chapter and verse, I have decided it is a biblical principle of obedience. George P. Wood asked me this question "If you're not doing the last thing, should you be starting a new thing?" The answer became so very clear. OBEDIENCE. A simple matter of obedience.

So I will continue to use the phrase as a gauge for decision making, because my obedience to Christ is beyond important to me!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2 things....

Today I have been pondering the two things I walked away with from General Council '09.

1. "It's just an experiment." (Don't be afraid to try something new!)

2. As a church we must be culturally relevant.

These two items are so closely related. In order to become culturally relevant you're gonna have try something new. And oh, how that makes many people squirm uncontrollably!!!!

I mean seriously, how long has it been since you really looked at your church? Is it operating in the 2000's? Or are you stuck in the 90's or maybe even the 80's? Or God forbid, your stuck in the 50's!! From a small church perspective cultural relevance is huge. Ministry takes money and small churches don't have tons of money, but I would venture to say that your thought process is much more important in overcoming than your financial status!!

If you're looking to change, change will slowly start happening. If you're not looking to change, then your church will eventually die simply because you will not be reaching the current generation.

Go ahead! Try something new today! Remember if it doesn't work, it's not a big deal, "It was just an experiment!"