“Culture is changing rapidly, which means people are changing rapidly. If you want to reach people, that probably also means you need to change your approach rapidly.” – Carey Nieuwhof
Culture is, in fact, changing at a rapid clip. The way people interact with entities is changing, retail is dying, and everyone is a CEO or entrepreneur (seriously, check social media profiles and you’ll see). What does this mean for the local church?
Maybe nothing. Here is the reality…every single church dies. Every one. I can prove it. Point to a church which has existed for 1000 years. You can’t. You can point to a building, but a building isn’t the church. Some of those churches died because they failed to change with the culture.
There are some theological issues with matching culture which I won’t delve into, but framing the Gospel in current cultural context was something Jesus did. I think we can all agree that if Jesus did it, the local church can do it. But many churches are afraid of change. That’s fine, they just have to be ok with dying.
Making a pivot to opening up the church building to the community is a sure way to have your finger on the pulse of what your local context needs. Funny thing about people, they will tell you what they need. You just have to be in a place where you can listen. You can’t listen if you aren’t in the midst of the community.
There is a tendency of Christians to view non-believers as “contagious”. Like they will catch their sin if they hang around them. “Well, be careful how much time you spend around them. Guard your heart and all.” Can we please stop pretending that statement isn’t the exact opposite of living the way Jesus told us to?
At the end of the day, in 20 years (probably more like 10 years), the way we do church will be totally changed. The mega churches will still be mega, but the majority of churches will look very differently than they do now. Already, 25% of Americans say they attend a small group and not a Sunday gathering. Anyone who ignored that stat is walking around with blinders on.
Pivot. Find the culture and invite it into your building. Love on them. Jesus told you to.