Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 29, 2016

In yesterday's post I referenced the Indiana Wesleyan University basketball team as an example of how a counter-cultural approach to a competitive team sport can make a nationwide impact.

When an "I am 3rd" program can win championships on a consistent basis in a "me-first" culture like college basketball, that is significant. It gives hope that a committed team with a winning strategy can change a culture over time!

Churches are looking for a way to positively impact the culture of their community. But before they can reach their community for Christ they have to find a way to capture the attention of those they want to reach.

How to do that is the big decision church leaders must make. I have noticed several approaches church have chosen in their effort to gain the attention of the community they want to reach.
  • The "hipness" approach 
They try to compete with the secular entertainers and celebrities in they culture they long to reach in the hope that  if they can impress secular people they will have a chance to reach them.
  • The "hype" approach
This approach saturates the community with songs and slogans and signs to create an attractive image of the church. Their idea is if they can catch the eye and ear of their community they can win their heart. They want to make it the "in" place to be, the place you go to see and be seen. 
  • The high power personality approach
A church will lean heavily on dynamic high-personality pastors and musicians to create a high energy emotionally charged atmosphere they hope will be attractive to secular people who have little religious background. They hope to be able to eventually transfer the popularity of their platform people to a faith in Christ.
  • The happiness approach
Some ministries choose to focus on the good news side of the Gospel. They believe the sign of true spirituality is wealth, health, wisdom and joy. While God is certainly able to provide those things they fail to mention our greatest joy is to be found in knowing Him and loving Him regardless of circumstances.

While each of these approaches have reached people and build large churches, they choose to compete with culture or in some way co-op it. 

At FredWes we have chosen a different approach. We don't want to compete with culture or co-op culture we want to create a counter-culture.
  • The healthy approach
At FredWes we believe that if we build on healthy Biblical principles and practices and if we develop healthy relationships, the church will grow. And as we maintain our spiritual health we will continue to grow. We seek to build those healthy relationships on the principles of the "Great Commandment":

"Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39

Our ministry statement, "Loving you to LIFE" is an expression of this commandment. We will love God most, love others much and least self last.

For this new year of 2016-17 at FredWes we are going to recommit, refine and rephrase our mission. This year I call you this challenge, also from the Great Commandment: "If you want to be great find a way to be third."

It works for the Wildcats and it will work for FredWes!