We have been rapidly moving toward a post-Christian culture. That can be daunting to those, like myself, who are old enough to remember the Christian dominating culture and have lived through the transition. However, if we embrace one important dynamic, it does not have to be the hurdle we think it is.
In order for many of our neighbors in our culture to ‘come to church,’ they must jump many hurdles to get to our services. Some of those hurdles are:
- Meeting times – do we worship a day or a person?
- Dress codes – do ties and dress slacks make us more spiritual?
- Meeting protocol – why 3 songs, an offering, a sermon and a prayer?
- Bible linguistics – why heavy theological language which most don’t understand?
The average ‘posty’ (my term for a post-Christian person) must jump over these and many other hurdles in order to ‘fit into’ our puritanical and centralized pattern of church. Now, this does not mean that we lose our distinctive expressions or meeting protocols, but it does mean something else. That is, what if we were the ones jumping over the hurdles and invading their culture instead of looking for them to jump hurdles to get to us? What if we learned about their culture and invaded it to reach them where they are? What if, as disciples, we offered outreach, fellowship and meetings around their free time and lifestyle? What if we learned to communicate the eternal truths of the gospel in their lingo?
After reaching them in their context of life, their move into our larger meetings will be an easier transition and an enjoyable one! Easier, because they already know believers from a smaller group. Enjoyable, if our services are free from contrived, artificial or detached expressions of personal relationships.
Let’s change who jumps the hurdles…let us train our people to learn to jump the hurdles! The hurdles should be jumped from the inside out, not the outside in. Instead of ‘come and hear,’ let us begin to proclaim the call for disciples to ‘go and tell.’ We must leave our comfort zones and begin to place faith and feet on our visions.
Put on those gospel sandals…they are made for jumping hurdles.