EXPOSE | Yet She Will Thrive
“The Early Church thrived in the midst of a hostile non-Christian world—not because they were more numerous or more powerful, but because they were both radically distinct and culturally relevant.” – Ed Stetzer
EXPLORE | The Harder the Better
Certainly the presidency, not to mention our form of government, matters. As does exercising, with sincerity and understanding, our right to vote. If you’ve been with me since the beginning of this blog, you know that I’ve not said one peep about politics. And I’m not about to. Because when it comes to how we should live, does it really matter who is president, or for that matter, that we even have one?
Not that I’m in favor of dictatorship, but to Stetzer’s point above, early church history would indicate that trying circumstances can bring about the best outcomes. If we think loving our neighbor is tough now, all indications point toward it not only becoming even more difficult, but exceedingly fruitful at the same time.
The greater the darkness, the more impressionable the light.
Light has such distinction when viewed from darkness. There is contrast. It interrupts nothingness, with something. Something desirable. To be sure, the Light we represent will be most noticeable in the darkening of these Last Days.
EXECUTE | Be Distinct AND Relevant
Come what may, according to Stetzer, distinction and relevance are crucial factors for the church (and, each of us individually) going forward:
Be radically distinct.
Being distinct naturally occurs as long as we remain true. If we are truly a follower of Christ, we’ll more than take care of the “radically distinct” part. In other words, be who we are.
“In the midst of a society that is growing more and more antagonistic toward Christianity, the first to abandon ship are going to be the ones who never really believed in Jesus anyway… Nominalism is dying. And I say, “Good riddance.” I, for one, am ready for the gospel to mean the gospel, and for Christians to be known as Christians. People need to see that “Christian” isn’t just a check-box on a questionnaire, but it’s a life changed by the gospel.” – Stetzer
Be culturally relevant.
What does it mean to be relevant? Is it to be liked or laughed at? I think it was a coach that once said to us players during training, “if it don’t hurt it don’t count.” The pain means it’s working. But more than that, can it be that what makes us relevant is what we value?
“Many of our churches stand as visible reminders that we’ve valued our sub-cultures more than the people to whom we’ve been sent, and we’ve refused to change… People shouldn’t come into our churches and primarily find the culture bizarre. They should find the message of the gospel bizarre.
We don’t contextualize to minimize the confrontational claims of Christianity, but to maximize them. It’s a matter of putting the gospel into language that our neighbors can hear and understand.
If we aim for being distinct or relevant, we miss out on the heart of Jesus. He embodied both, and He calls His Church to do the same today.” – Stetzer
Vote. Keep calm. Exercise wisdom in all things. And be ready with an account for the hope that is within you (1 Peter 3:15), with appropriate distinction and relevance.
[Original article: how can the church thrive in a non-Christian world?]