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8 Assumptions Pastors Can’t Make in a Post-Christian Culture

7. A Recognition of the Need for Salvation

If there’s no understanding of sin, there’s no desire for salvation.

Terms that I grew up with, like “lost souls,” “sinners” and “unsaved” have less meaning to most people with every passing year.

Instead of knowing they’re lost, people feel lonely and disconnected. An awareness of sin has given way to a sense of hopelessness. And self-discovery has replaced a desire to be saved.

People still need Jesus. But the terms they use to describe that need have changed.

It isn’t necessary for the church to adopt every new term that comes along. But we need to be aware of them so we can understand what people are trying to tell us. Only then will we be able to communicate compassionate truth in a way they’ll be able to hear.

8. An Acceptance of Salvation Through Christ Alone

Even after being drawn to Jesus, people are more likely to try to add Jesus to their current lifestyle than to abandon sinful behaviors as a necessary element in embracing biblical discipleship.

The idea that there are multiple paths to truth is more palatable to post-Christian people than accepting Jesus’ claim of exclusivity.

This is another reason why detaching our Christian beliefs from our political language is so important. If we’re as passionate about our partisan politics as our relationship with Jesus, people will see them as equal—and equally optional.

Presenting the truth of the exclusivity of Christ as a means to salvation will be the toughest battle the church will face in the next generation or two. But it’s a battle worth fighting.

Jesus is not way, he is the way. A lot of other things may change, but that cannot.

This article originally appeared here.

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Karl Vaters is the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us. He’s been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years and has been the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California for over 20 years. He’s also the founder of NewSmallChurch.com, a blog that encourages, connects and equips innovative Small Church pastors