5. Use the Culture to Reach the Culture
The culture around us isn’t the only culture around. Your church has a culture too. And it can be a bridge or a barrier to reaching people.
From the outset, I’ve believed the most effective strategy we can follow is to adapt our culture within the church so it becomes a bridge to the culture around us and not a barrier.
It’s time for churches to cut the weird, the irrelevant and the ineffective. Our mission is too important.
When you adapt your music and your communication style to make your church accessible to the unchurched, you don’t necessarily water down a thing (at least you don’t have to…we don’t). You simply make what you’re sharing accessible and understandable.
If you want to make your church more effective, use the culture to reach the culture.
So what does that mean?
Whether you use mainstream music in your service or not, having music that sounds like music people today listen to helps people today feel comfortable and engaged.
Communicating in clear and accessible language is just good hospitality—it works the same way in creating more effective preaching. Leaving people confused and bewildered after 45 minutes of “deep” teaching might not be the best strategy if you want to see lives changed.
The point is not to change what we say, but how we say it. Not to change what we believe (at all), but to express it in a way that helps people understand it.
And above all, this means genuinely loving people outside our community and sharing the teachings and hope of Christ in a clear and compelling way.
Churches who have adapted their style of ministry to be more reflective of the culture around us almost always get critiqued for it. I’ve been criticized for years for leading a church intentional on adapting ministry style to connect with people outside our comfortable community. But you know who levies the criticism? Christians. But they’re already reached.
So go reach some people who haven’t heard about how deeply Jesus loves them. And use the culture to reach the culture.
If you want more, Caleb Kaltenbach has written a two-part article on how the Apostle Paul engaged culture (Caleb’s piece spurred me to write this one).
If you’d like to drill down even deeper, I have more on this topic in my new book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow.
The new Team Edition is now available featuring eight videos that can help optimally frame the conversations for your team. And if you buy the Team Edition before May 31, 2016, you’ll get access to a private Facebook Group for Team Edition leaders hosted by me. But hurry…today is the last day!