Wednesday, May 12, 2021by Reverend Dan on May 12, 2021
“I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”
OK, I’m feeling old.
This year’s high school graduating class – the Class of ’21 – well, think about this . . .
- They never lived in the 20th century.
- 9/11 is a historical event to them– they were not alive when it happened.
- They have never licked a postage stamp.
- They have never “dialed” a phone.
- SpongeBob SquarePants is older than they are.
- The iPod is older than them, the iPhone came out when they were 5, Facebook started when they were 2, and Twitter when they were 4.
- “Friends” was in its 5th season when they were born, Tom Hanks was “Saving Private Ryan”, and Britney Spears was begging us to “Hit Me Baby One More Time.”
- Princess Diana, Mother Teresa, John Lennon – all figures from the past who were deceased by the time they were born.
- They don’t remember Paul McCartney was once in a pretty famous band. (Seriously, guys?! Really?!)
Culture really does turn quickly, doesn’t it? And most of the time we don’t even realize it. We’re so “in the moment” (well, most of us – some have dug their heels in and are just not going to “go gently into that quiet night” of change) that we just move with the tides of change and let the flow take us in whatever direction the wind is blowing.
If we want to stay relevant, we really don’t have a choice but to change. The problem is, the older we get, the harder it is to keep up and understand all the changes, especially at the rate change happens these days.
That’s why it’s so important in the church to recognize that change and use it and learn to work within it. If we want to reach new generations, we have to be able to speak their language. We need to understand they world they see through their eyes.
It’s hard when a church goes kicking and screaming into tomorrow. They cling to traditions and rituals like they are sacrosanct, like they are doctrine itself. (After all, who would go into church dusty and dirty and dressed in everyday clothes with long hair and sandals? Oh yeah . . . Jesus.)
The bottom line is that churches that are out of touch never touch the culture. And those who don’t understand cultural change end up answering questions no one is asking anymore. They’re still trying to process the changes from thirty years ago.
Even though we must always keep the message the same, the way we wrap it – the packaging – must change to meet and reflect the culture in which it is offered. After all, what good is the gift . . . if the box is never opened?
God of yesterday and today and forever, open our eyes and hearts and minds to offer Your grace and mercy in whatever way it is best understood and reaches the most people in the world in which we live. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.