extraordinary times we live in. And what unique
opportunities exist for ministry. The postmodern culture
has provided openings for the gospel that we've not seen
for generations. The ascendancy of the Internet in the
past 20 years staggers us with both its trash and
treasure. We can speak with more people, more often,
more easily, and more affordably than any time in human
history. Travel is fast and affordable. Our age makes
even the 19th century look prehistoric
the fast-paced change of our culture poses a subtle
threat to the Church. The danger lies not in the
outcomes of the cataclysmic changes we
experience but in the pace and process of that
frequent criticism of the church is that it fails the
'relevancy' test. Pundits regularly observe the time
warp many churches seem locked in, usually several
decades behind culture. They accuse the Church of
being slow to utilize new technology, new music (1980s
music is hardly contemporary anymore), new values (on
homosexuality, pluralism, etc), and new images.
criticisms have been heard, especially by the emerging
generation of leaders, many of whom bring fantastic
potential to the kingdom .
we've embarked on the elusive quest to be "relevant."
And herein lies our dilemma.
today is not relevant tomorrow, and we can find
ourselves endlessly chasing the fads and trends of
culture - based on the false assumption that all of
society shares the same trends and tastes. What
contemporary music should we mimic - rock, rap, soul,
jazz, blues, country, or hip-hop? But a deeper question
emerges: When we pour all our efforts into the
packaging, do we find ourselves wrapping empty
it be that success is not measured by our capacity to
keep up with culture (or a sub-culture), but by our own
effectiveness at changing culture?
not advocating that we merely stand firm in the face of
culture, but that we engage it to precipitate change of
our choice. Perhaps, ironically, our greatest challenge
is not to keep pace with the frantic changes within
culture, but to be a clarion call to a different kind of
fundamentals of the kingdom of God are not denoted by
technology, styles, structure, or symbols. Amidst the
flurry of fads, trends, and tastes, the values
of the kingdom remain confrontational to everyone -
service not power, humility not fame, obedience not
not individualism, etc.
the end, meaningful ministry may be less about the
'latest and greatest' and more about the 'ancient word'
than we realize.
this becomes a conviction, we'll not chase the changes
but become catalysts for the changes that matter