Video at right.
From “The Culture Crime“.
“This culture is a proactive one. It’s proactively outward focused. It’s ahead of the game and it’s driven by a clear purpose. It exists consistently in about 5% of churches. The other 95% of churches are reactionary: struggling with the lack of resources, the missing team members, and the last-minute changes. In the reactionary world, it’s very unlikely that every one is thinking outside themselves and about others—specifically visitors. No church will ever be proactive all the time. Some weeks, things will happen and the reactive impulses will reign. But, the end result of weeks and weeks of reactivity is that after a while, we stop forgetting about the outside world all together.“
How proactive are we being? I am indeed guilty of this. Our first week of camp is 10 days away, and there is much to be done. Our summer schedule has been posted for several months. Each year I tell myself, “I need to advertise/promote events early”, and each year I feel behind.
“After a while, we are no longer building our efforts around the visitor experience and we lose the correlation between our actions and growth. If we go too far, we can even create a counter-culture, so fixated on ourselves that we’ve lost track of what non-“regulars” are going through or needing.“
This is so crucial in any ministry, but especially youth ministry. We forget what it was like to be a 14 year old. Or, a non-believer. Because our current experiences are so far from theirs, we cannot even fathom a life other than our own.
“The culture crime of this video is not just the missed greeter opportunity—it’s the disconnection that kept every other “regular attendee” and worker in the video from thinking first and foremost of others—remembering the inside jokes and the punch lines, but forgetting the true treasure in their midst.“
Inside jokes and punch lines. How about the lingo we use? About a month ago in a Sunday service, we sang the song, “Awesome God” by Rich Mullins. A common song, to be sure. Common to us, that is. The interesting part? There were no words on the screen. There was an assumption that everyone “knew” the words, so we just belted it out. And all I could think about was…what if there were people who did not know that song. We just totally excluded them.
What if we proactively planned our services, messages, songs, communion meditations with “them” in mind? If we were dropped onto a desert island…we’d have to explain EVERYTHING. We’d learn the language, get to know them, and teach.
Here’s the problem, despite our cries to the opposite, in our hearts we still think we live in a “Christian” country. We assume that everyone knows the lingo. And, we proceed accordingly. What we must realize, and soon, is that we live in a post-christian society. We are more like the Athens of Paul’s time than we realize.
It’s time for us to start acting like it.