Ten years ago, everyone was using the word “postmodern.” Its definition centered upon the premise that the modern world was slowly crumbling (due to the advent of the personal computer) and a jagged new world was slowly emerging from the ashes (riding the momentum of the Internet). The time it would take to get from “there to here” was loosely labeled “postmodern.”
I truly thought my ministry years would be conducted with one foot in the old world and the other slowly venturing into the new.
I was wrong.
The shift I thought would take decades, happened in about a minute and a half, and the world I live in today has little in common with the world in which I was reared. The fact that I liked the old world substantially better than I like this new one is completely irrelevant. I am called by God to minister to the world in which I live.
The congregation God has called me to lead has experienced significant numerical growth for the past 17 consecutive years. For us, there is no biblical understanding of the church apart from growth and there is no growth apart from relevance.
The question we are asking is, “What will it take for the church to be relevant in this new world?” Here are my thoughts:
1. Offer Christ and Christ alone.
Though the means by which churches reach to the world must constantly be negotiated during cultural shifts, the centrality of Christ for salvation must remain non-negotiable.
Our task will be to hold fast to our central Christological message and to be creative with our mediums.
2. Stay on mission.
The church exists to connect people to Christ and we must focus on what we are uniquely called to do.
Most churches in 2014 and beyond will not have the available resources to allow them the luxury of being nonstrategic around their mission.
3. Offer hope in a world defined by fear.
The Bible teaches that the disposition of the person of faith is hope and the disposition of the person trusting in things other than God is fear. Churches that offer heaping doses of hope will find people flocking to them.