3 Questions To Ask Ourselves.
There was a time when businesses were closed on Sundays, clubs and sports were sensitive when scheduling Sunday activities and church was the only place to be on a Sunday morning.
Those days are gone.
I’ve been working through Carey Nieuwhof’s book, Lasting Impact. As I reflect on Conversation #2 (How Do We Respond As People Attend Church Less Often?), it becomes clear that this is a conversation about culture.
Specifically for those of us living in North America, who have moved from a Christian culture to a post-Christian culture. Here’s a few questions that Carey’s book has led me to ask.
1. Am I Showing Empathy?
- Lasting Impact, Ch. 2, “How Do We Respond As People Attend Church Less Often” principle, “Show empathy.“
In Acts 11, we read about a few unnamed men from Cyprus and Cyrene who took a chance on some Hellenists, at a time when everyone else was focused on the Hebrew people.
“19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.” (Acts 11:19-21)
As these men passed through Antioch, one of them must have said, “Hey, maybe these Hellenists would like to know about Jesus?” That guy was thinking outside of his culture, his tradition, his race, into a people group that was often in opposition with Jews.
As a guy who grew up in the church, I have to erase that as I step into this post-Christian culture. I need to try to empathise with someone who has zero baseline for Christianity, the Bible, God, etc. That’s the starting point for sharing the Gospel in this culture.
2. Am I Celebrating Wins?
- Lasting Impact, Ch. 2, “How Do We Respond As People Attend Church Less Often” principle, “Celebrate wins.“
What happens next in Acts 11? The good news travels!
“22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.” (Acts 11:22-24)
Barnabas is like a great coach! Filled with gladness, he exhorts (building up and championing) these new Hellenist Believers.
To often I live in expectation, forgetting about excitement. When someone chooses to follow Christ, I need to remember that they haven’t fulfilled some Christian requirement; they’ve been brought into the greatest miracle the world will ever know!
3. Am I Separating The Mission From The Method?
- Lasting Impact, Ch. 2, “How Do We Respond As People Attend Church Less Often” principle, “Separate the mission from the method.“
Coach Barnabas heads to Tarsus to get backup from his star player!
“25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” (Acts 11:25-26)
Barnabas and Saul (Paul) give up a year of their life for the mission of the Gospel! They didn’t pack up the new Hellenist Believers and sojourn them over to Jerusalem to be assimilated.
Nope, they set up camp in the Gentile world laying down their culture, traditions and likely, many comforts to the sake of the mission.
What do I need to lay down?
Although I try to be a pastor with a progressive approach, I’m sure I have my methods. Many of them likely stem from being brought up in the church.
That considered, what I find comfortable within church settings may not be what’s strategic for reaching this post-Christian culture. How willing am I to shift in order to reach the lost?
I need to make the decision now, to lay down any method for the mission.
Get your copy of Lasting Impact by Carey Nieuwhof today. Start the conversation journey toward growth in your church.
Join the Conversation, Leave Your Thoughts
What evidence have you seen, that we’ve moved into a post-Christian culture? How is your church adjusting to that shift?