Consider briefly some of the major changes that have been observable in the church over the past several decades. In Christianity: Organization. If you can connect with the key stakeholders in your church, you can help change the culture. The Christian Church has to come to terms with the fact that while it's role in leading American culture may be over, it's voice at the table is not. That doesn't mean we side-step issues that matter, but we speak the truth in a way that engages rather than condemns. For an excellent treatment of postmodernism as it relates to the church, see Phil Sanders’ Adrift: Postmodernism in the Church. Postmodernism has impacted the religious community at large in a devastating fashion, and the churches of Christ have been significantly influenced by this ideology as well. Then, a strange thing happened. Will-worship (Col. 2:23) for the most part has been the order of the day. All expressions of culture outside the church are viewed with a high degree of suspicion and as irreparably corrupted by sin. With roots that reach deep into paganism, Catholicism has been steeped in pageantry for centuries. During this time, the most cataclysmic cultural shift in modern times took place. Is the first thing that comes out of our mouth at coffee hour, “So, where do you work?” Can we think of another question, like, “So, what keeps you busy these days?” Do we introduce new members by highlighting their shiny resume? The Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) is currently an eight week online course with a practical application project. Rather, we have “sharing” sessions wherein we “testify” of exciting events we’ve experienced in the work-place. Are you using Facebook for pastoral care? Some people say that adults in their 20s and 30s are just extending adolescence, having fun in their odyssey years, or they’re too commitment-phobic to settle down. Matthew 5:13; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Matthew 13:33; 1 Samuel 8:5; Colossians 2:23; Romans 12:2, Jackson, Wayne. It is the story of the relationship between God and the world, as told through the lens of Jesus Christ. The present imperative form of the verb means, “stop being fashioned [conformed — KJV]!” The principle involved in this admonition is broad in its application. It reflected an inclination to reject the concept of propositional truth based on divine authority. Those were glorious days for the kingdom of Christ. Many in the movement say the church is one of the cultural mountains we have to influence. The New Testament subordination of women is viewed as a cultural oddity of the first century with little, if any, application for today. ChristianCourier.com. In the early church, discipline concerned four areas in which there arose violations of the demand for holiness: (1) the relationship to the pagan social milieu and the forms of life and culture connected with it (e.g., idolatry, the emperor’s cult, the theatre, and the circus); (2)… In a media-driven culture, perception matters. The ECRF, a program of Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, provides the research, tools, and customized training to meet the growing needs of leaders in religious communities and fundraisers of faith-based organizations. Photo by Mike Morones. In the early portion of the last century, the Lord’s church was one of the fastest growing religious bodies in America. What impression do we convey to visitors from the community? They are to be withdrawn from and avoided as much as possible. overt culture of the Church. 2) Work hours. It was from this point that the church began to separate from their Jewish culture and took upon itself a more Greek mode of being since that was the primary influence on Gentile culture. All rights reserved. And the church began feeling the immense pressure to conform to it almost immediately. Calvin, Wesley, Spurgeon, and other notable Protestant scholars, for example, expressed strong views against the use of instrumental music in Christian worship. 5) Politics. They didn’t do so well when the rest of the country was booming either. A typical example of the influence of the church was seen in the Tabernacle Meetings conducted by N. B. Hardeman in the early 1920s. In A.D. 313, Constantine issued his famous “Edict of Toleration,” which brought an end to Christian persecution. When Hollywood blazed the trail in serial “marriage,” many wondered if small-town America could be far behind. Many are rushing with a full head of steam towards a “Casey Jones” disaster. We must make it more trendy. Author Ken Myers doesn't believe "the culture" is the biggest challenge facing the Church today. Rich Bible teaching presented by instructors who are excited about the treasures of scripture is attracting the attention of a whole new generation of lost people. Or they’re wrestling over the use of PowerPoint, which can be tiresome for people who have endured two decades of PP board meetings. More recently modernism has been succeeded by a philosophy known as “Postmodernism” This dogma, more dangerous even than modernism, is a mid-to-late 20th-century theory that contends there is no such thing as real knowledge—at least in the objective sense. The church, therefore, has an obligation to approach the Scriptures with a literary and historical understanding. In the future, is Sunday morning going to be the best time to have worship services? Many young Christians who grew up evangelical are trying out mainline congregations. No longer is J. D. Tant’s quip, “Brethren, we are drifting,” apropos. For an interesting survey of this period, see chapter IX “The Imperial Church” in Hurlbut’s The Story of the Christian Church. I would contend that there is a better course of action rather than going with the winds of evangelical church culture. The church is then organized, institutionalized and immunized so that she can stand as a light to the world, but well shielded from pollution or compromise from the surrounding culture. Paul also warned of the power of bad influence when he noted that “evil companionships corrupt good morals” (1 Cor. Let us summon the courage to make the appropriate applications, yielding to truth and common sense, rather than to the fickle trends of an unspiritual society. Doxa Deo’s effort to plant churches around the world is far more impactful than just buildings, in the vision of Alan Platt. 1) Finances. •• God wants His Church to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”. Church Tradition and Church Culture Church Tradition in the sense of the Scriptures and Church Teaching is part of the culture of the Church but I suggest that not every aspect of the current culture of the organisational or institutional Church should in reality be considered as the received Tradition of the Church. 13:33). It revolutionized the antique world. We address a yearning for greater strength and vitality among Christian institutions and for greater faithfulness and effectiveness in the leadership and management of those institutions. Churches aren’t the most culturally savvy places. The cultural influence of the Church has been vast. 12:2). While we must have sincere compassion for those who are victims of divorce, the compromise of biblical truth is not a solution for these heartaches. Ultimately, the church was “baptized” in an atmosphere that can only be described as worldliness. Do we make snide comments about people who “don’t even know what it means to be Methodist (or Presbyterian or Lutheran)”? Families. Contrast the decorum of the “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” as they proceed from door-to-door, impeccably dressed, with the bedraggled appearance of some Christians in the worship assemblies. Great and devastating changes were wrought that finally resulted in an egregious, fully-organized apostasy the residue of which abides to this day. There is no better example of this than the current endorsement of homosexual unions in some of the historic Protestant sects, and increasingly so within the churches of Christ. Even skeptics have conceded the point. This is when pop culture, as we know it, was born. In contrast, in the Incarnation “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” ( Jn. Traditional ascetic communities as well as various sectarian and fundamentalist groups would hold to some version of this view. 8:5). We don’t know what comes first. It wasn’t. Many in the movement say the church is one of the cultural mountains we have to influence. In the church in which I was raised, the youth group had an contagious passion for missions. The concept of restoring pristine Christianity was revolutionary, both in Europe and in America. Experts in “marriage enrichment” skills are in great demand, while the seminar directors generally are careful to throw a wide loop that avoids confrontation with the biblical law of divorce and remarriage. When the first meeting was held in March-April of 1922, the old Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee was “packed and jammed” with 6,000 to 8,000 people. Ferguson has noted that the expression A cappella (which refers to purely vocal music) literally means “in the style of the church.” His exhaustive research led to this conclusion: The classical form of church music is unaccompanied song. The Divine Pattern of Acceptable Worship—Part 2, Dever, William G. March/April 2000. Younger generations face high student loan debt, high housing costs and stagnant wages (if they’re even able to get a job). Are you staying in contact with emerging adults who move away for education or jobs? Too, it is a sad commentary on our attitude toward the hours of sacred worship that our dress has degenerated to the exceedingly casual, not to mention sloppy. Here it denotes “bad company” (Arndt and Gingrich, 568). However, others, such as myself, take a position in which the church, as the main representative of the kingdom, is part of the mountain of the Lord (Is. The origins of cultural influence Modern-day evangelicals are most familiar with God's saving grace—the means by which God's saving power, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, can redeem people from their sin and give them new life … Cultural Relevance in the Cultural Revolution Cultural relevance then went into hyper-drive as we entered the Sixties. Have our churches thought about the larger changes in an emerging generation? “Don’t try to match your life to all the fashions of this world; don’t be like the chameleon which takes its colour from its surroundings; don’t go with the world; don’t let the world decide what you are going to be like” (170). Are people ashamed of their monetary situation in our congregations? Holding true to this mission, Christ looked at the needs of the people, provided it, and then begun to preach out the good deeds. Are you googling your church and finding out what people are saying? “What would you do if you were in Johnny’s place?” The biblical emphasis is paper thin. The blue laws faded long ago, and you don’t get Sunday mornings off unless you’re management. Affect the Culture with Christ. Somehow, we have lost touch with the “millennial” generation. Culture isn’t completely understood without a clear vision. An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 were turned away (Hardeman’s Tabernacle Sermons, 11). The term “Black church” is used to describe Protestant churches that have predominately Black congregations. Is your church leery of evangelicals who grew up non-denominational or without any religious affiliation? Being around … Or wealthier people go to mainline churches. The trends of secular society to a significant degree have seeped into the religious fabric of our culture. Details on how this list was compiled can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of the page. Do we expect people to enter our doors two-by-two? The example, influence, and reality of Jesus have provided a touch point for all Christian traditions. Even now, a number of sizable churches following the lead of denominational groups (Veith, 4-5) are staggering their services, providing a “traditional” worship format for the older generation (dare we say, “fogies”?). There is a church ’ s quip, “ Brethren, we are drifting, ” apropos temple in 313... 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