Friday, August 02, 2013
It's Competitive Out There
The emergence of Sunday morning sports is just a symbol of a shift that’s happening in our society where the church is no longer accommodated or propped up by our culture.
Clergy lament this. It makes our jobs harder. But, if we are honest, there is something deeper: it is the resentment of the loss a privileged place of not only religious
Institutions, but Christian institutions, and not just Christian institutions, but Christian people, and the leaders of those people, the professional clergy, us. We are mourning our own diminishing cultural position and privilege. That’s what I hear just under the surface when clergy complain to each other about Sunday morning sports—its the loss of our place, our privilege, our position…
And, frankly, its a not a bad thing for the Church to stand on its own, apart from cultural props. I don’t want the Church to be dependent on the world to say that Church is important. I want us to say that this is important because of Jesus, the persuasiveness of the Gospel, for its own sake, on its own terms, not because my local Recreation Department says so.I agree the laments are misplaced, but for an entirely different reason. The church was never "propped up" by culture. It was the other way around. The current situation has arisen because the church has abandoned its role IN culture and society - the church has chosen not to lead.
Yes, there came a point where culture and society started too push back against the church's predominant role. But in response the church caved.
Initially, it was a strategic retreat. Sufficient evangelism would win sufficient people to once again dominate culture. The problem is, we defined evangelism so narrowly that we failed to win people in a way that would also win culture. We gained affiliation, but we did not gain deep association.
People said "Yes" to Jesus, and then...
And now we find ourselves not in a strategic retreat, but in a retreat for our lives. But the strategy should not change, what should change is our fighting ability. We must seek to make disciples, not congregants. We must go deep, not wide. Jesus used twelve guys to change the world. We are rapidly approaching the point where we will have no choice but to repeat that.
culture retreat society strategy