Originally posted February 7, 2005
In An Unstoppable Force Erwin McManus talks about the need for the church to be cultural architects. In other words the Church, rather than responding to the culture, should be the force that shapes culture. Instead of thinking how reach postmodern culture or even modern culture, the Church should created a new culture that is different from both.
Think about how postmodern culture came into existence. It is the result of people being influenced by media and education. Many people haven’t consciously chosen whether or not they are going to postmodern, but they are the product of the different influences which have affected their lives.
This is the long term problem if we, as preachers and Christians, seek merely to respond to culture: we will constantly be at least one step behind. Just as soon as we think we have things figured out, the playing field will change. This will leave us frustrated because we will constantly be wondering if we are connecting with the world.
It is important that we understand the times in which we live. So I am not saying that studying and trying to understand culture is not worthwhile, but I am saying it is not the most important thing. It is my thought that the Church needs create our own culture. Remember the message we have transforms people’s thinking, and thus we need show them a brand new way to live. Thus, the way we live reinforces the message we proclaim.
Many congregations have both modern and postmodern thinkers in it, our job is to create a new type of thinker, one which connects with our message. In preaching that means finding components which connect with one group or the other and combine them to make a sermon. Rather than trying to find components which appeal to both groups, you use these different components to teach the congregation to listen to how you communicate. What I am saying is that people are not stuck being a modern or a postmodern, the way they think can be changed. As we preach and teach God's Word one of our goals should be to create a new type of thinker:
Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is (Romans 12:2; NLT).
I guess the bottom line is that part of our goal is not to respond to the culture in which we live, but rather create a new culture which is different than the world around us. It is the difference between simply adding Jesus and being transformed by Jesus. A new culture is what we are after.