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More thoughts on our Changing Culture

A couple of weeks ago I shared Ed Stetzer's observations on how the Church can deal with our changing culture. Here are five insights from Carey Nieuwhof on the same topic that are relevant to every Christian, whether you are in church leadership or not. Carey's original post can be found here.

5 Ways Christians can Approach the Rapidly Changing Moral Culture

Ever feel like the world you stepped into when you began in ministry no longer exists?

You’re not alone.

The culture around us is changing.

You can debate when the collapse of Christendom in the West began, but there is little doubt we are witnessing a massive shift away from the cultural consensus that existed even a few generations ago.

So as a church leader – as views on sexuality, family, parenting, drugs, finance and other values change – how do you respond? What do you do when the world for which you trained—maybe even the world where your approach was once effective—is disappearing before your eyes?

What’s the key to responding when the world around you no longer

shares your value system

pays much attention to you

thinks you add anything to the cultural mix?

I see at least five approaches emerging, some that are helpful and some that aren’t.

1. BE OBLIVIOUS TO CULTURE

Some churches appear to be oblivious to culture.

Walk into a church like this, and you won’t be able to tell whether it’s 2016, 1996 or 1966 for that matter.

The sermons are theoretical and not at all practical, nor do they engage the realities of the world people inevitably will walk back into Monday morning.

The music is remarkably stale and sounds like nothing you’d hear anywhere else. No one looks like they would be comfortable visiting a trendy local restaurant. It’s the same old, same old, and this church seems old.

What happens if you’re oblivious to the culture around you? If you’re indifferent to the culture, it should be no surprise that the culture is indifferent to you.

This approach produces irrelevance.

2. HIDE FROM CULTURE

Unlike churches that are indifferent to the culture, churches that hide from the culture are aware of what’s going on around them. But they’re scared. Really scared.

So they hide.

You’ll hear Christians in this camp vow to never do anything ‘secular.’ Sometimes Christians set up their own networks as a safe cocoon from others.

They live on GodTube and Faithbook. They have ‘Christian’ alternatives to everything you can think of.

This approach stifles the mission of the church.

Effectively it’s a retreat and runs counter from the church’s mission to advance.

As a result, many in this camp don’t actually know any non-Christians.

You can’t reach the world you don’t know, understand or love.

3. SLAM THE CULTURE

This has become a very popular approach over the last few decades, perhaps peaking when the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S. last year.

I continue to be baffled as to why Christians insist non-Christians adopt our moral views. Why on earth would Christians expect non-Christians to act like Christians when…they’re not Christians?

If you want to keep being ineffective at reaching unchurched people, keep judging them.

For those intent on slamming the culture and the governments for their views, I’ll reiterate what I said in my post on same-sex marriage.

Having a government that doesn’t embrace the church’s values line for line actually puts Christians in some great company—the company of the earliest followers of Jesus.

Jesus spent zero time asking the government to change during his ministry. In fact, people asked him to become the government, and he replied that his Kingdom is not of this world.

The Apostle Paul appeared before government officials regularly. Not once did he ask them to change the laws of the land.

He did, howev