You can do it! C’mon man! Let’s unpack this post and make it relevant to your life, homie! After we unpack a nugget of cultural all-inclusive truth, let’s drill down into what it means to make you feel GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD! HollerLuYuuuuuuuh!
What in the world??? Seems a bit, much… right?
How do we take a sacrificial life, one in which Jesus warned would cause the world to hate you (John 15:18-19), to become more palatable? Maybe we can do it with smoke machines and a finely choreographed musical extravaganza! Maybe… if we dress like them and use their buzzwords (Romans 12:2)? OH, no… I got it… let’s all get matching tattoos of this year’s church theme. Surely that will convince our lost community that we are not that much different than they are… we’re JUST in church instead of out of the church. Yea, that’s the ticket!
Ok, ok… I think you get the point by now, and you might even feel your blood pressure rising because some of that tirade tweaked your sensibilities. However, I am not calling anyone out by name, neither personally nor denominationally. I’d say there are plenty of examples of what I am discussing across the churchy spectrum. I also freely admit that guiding a church into modern cultural engagement is not an easy task. How much worldliness is too much? You tell yourself that “if I can’t get them in the pews, I can’t share the Gospel with them.” There may be some truth to that last statement, but the question remains… how much cultural inclusion is too much?
Scripture does indeed say through Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23… “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” So, I believe we are challenged to engage the culture in ways that draw them into a relationship with Jesus. The rub comes with how much is enough. Is it outreach or is it entertainment? Is it accommodation or appropriation or bowing to peer pressure? I would say that if the “presentation” that occurs on the church stage places more spotlight on the band… or preacher… or soloist… or whoever, more than it does on Jesus… well, you have your answer. Do lost people leave the church property feeling like they just experienced an emotionally charged rock concert, or do they feel like they just encountered Jesus?
Come on brother, sister, fellow believer… you probably already know the answer to those questions in your spiritual gut. Down deep, you know if the light is shining brightly on your cleverness or if it shines more boldly on Jesus. The Holy Spirit inside you should remind you that our God is a jealous God. Paul also wrote of this idea in 2 Corinthians 11:2-3, reminding us to have pure motives.
Let’s finish this post by admitting that social media, properly staged church stages, and orderly presentations of the Gospel message can work together to shine the light on Jesus, the Light of the world. Let’s just be careful – all of us – to keep things in perspective and lift up the name of Jesus above our own… amen and amen.