Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 6 of “Compelled – Living the Value of Culturally Relevant” (LISTEN HERE).
Every organization and group of people has a culture.
Organizational culture includes an organization’s expectations, experiences, philosophy, as well as the values that guide member behavior, and is expressed in member self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and future expectations. Culture is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, and written and unwritten rules that have been developed over time and are considered valid (The Business Dictionary). (https://gothamculture.com/what-is-organizational-culture-definition/)
Every church has a culture.
In week 6 of our “Compelled!” series on our church’s values, we identified a desire to be a church that is culturally relevant, that is that we desire to communicate the Gospel in a real, relatable, understandable way to the people of our culture.
The challenge is three-fold.
First, culture is fluid. It is always evolving and changing, so being relevant will always be a challenge. (Just think what you wore 20 years ago vs. what you are wearing today. … OK, some of you are wearing the same things, but you can tell the fashion is not current!)
Second, to be culturally relevant, one must understand their own culture and how it compares to the culture around us. Self-awareness is hard because we often don’t notice our own culture.
Third, it is a challenge to understand our own culture and the culture around us and know what to give up and what to embrace for the sake of bringing the Gospel to people.
But it is a challenge that we must engage in and wrestle with for the sake of bringing the saving Gospel of Jesus to the souls of people around us.
The Apostle Paul lived in a time of cultural change. The religious culture was changing from one dominated by the law of Moses and following the regulations it outlined, to following the message of grace and forgiveness and the life it compelled people to live.
Paul came from the culture of the law and was now living in the culture of the Gospel. Yet, he was willing to engage with people still living under the regulations, customs, and traditions of the Old Testament, even as he clearly shared the grace of God and the forgiveness in Christ which made the old obsolete.
1 Corinthians 9:19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Before we look at the culture around us, evaluate the current culture of your church.
- What activities do you do that are very familiar to you, but perhaps not common occurrence in the culture around you?
- What is very important to you, but perhaps not really important to the people around you?
- What do you spend your time, energy and money on compared to the neighbors around you?
- If a visitor evaluated your church’s “culture” what do you think they would say?
- What language is used in your church and would it make sense to the people around you?
- What traditions/customs do you have and would they make sense to the people around you?
- What does your church spend money on and what does that say about your culture?
We could list other questions, but the point is to evaluate your own culture and that of your church. Because in the end, we desire, especially at Crosspoint, to have a culture that upholds the truth and glory of the Gospel, but is also a culture that is attractive and engaging to the person who first steps in the door.
Apply: What is one change in your church’s culture you think would make a difference and take a step at “becoming all things to all people”? How might you suggest a path to adjust that aspect of your culture to relate better with the culture around you.
Prayer: Lord, give me eyes to see and a heart to discern what aspects of our own culture can be adjusted or changed to better engage the culture around us with your saving message of grace. AMEN.