A friend sent me a blog post “How the Church Can Thrive in a Non-Christian World” by Ed Stetzer and as the ministry that I now serve is called Thrive Ministries (which is comprised of 3 churches striving to work together in a close geographical area) it made me think more about how we are doing with the two things that the author of this blog is wondering about. The two arenas that this author wondered about are how well the church is doing in the world today at being culturally relevant and radically distinct.
Clearly our work is that of being like missionaries wherever we are at. Which very much challenges us to know and live into the culture. I fear that on this one we all too often go only half-way. We may have a knowledge of what is going on in our culture and can speak about it (although let’s face it there may be a good percentage of folks who would rather just live into yesterday and stay in the “good ole days”). But what about speaking into it…. then there is this quote that I came upon recently…..
Speaking from the standpoint of sharing our hope when someone asks us, which we are encouraged to do in I Peter 3:15 author Brad Roth challenges us with this thought…
“This asking presumes that followers of Jesus will find themselves – will actually place themselves – in situations where others will bump up against them and notice their Christian faith. There will be wonder. There will be puzzlement. There will be questions. What’s your hope? Be ready, says Peter, to explain it.”
This then encourages us in both areas to be culturally relevant we actually have to be out in the culture… but more than likely to be asked, what’s our hope? We will need to be living lives that are radically distinct.
In my two posts before this one I introduced the idea of discomfort and the work of the church towards the harvest as being prayer. I wonder if in our prayers we are asking to be found in situations where we will be asked about our hope? And what might that start looking like? For the next few weeks I hope to explore that a little more with you.
The picture for this post is one I have shared before… it is an incredible picture of a bridge in Choluteca, Honduras that survived a hurricane. Unfortunately the usefulness of the bridge as of that picture was under question as the river had moved. I continue to wonder if that is too much a picture of the church today.
I hope you will continue to wonder with me… not in a way that causes despair but in a way that helps His church be a place of hope in a world that so much needs it!!
43-45 Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.
46-47 They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved. Acts 2:43 – 45