Principle #6 (of 9): Use Their Culture (pt. 2)

So last time we began this too long dissertation on principle number six: Use their culture. (By the way, I know that you’re supposed to keep blog posts much shorter than I do, sorry, but that ain’t gonna change.) I hope I established yesterday that being culturally relevant is not a choice we can make, but something we must do.

So we use the culture of the people we’re trying to reach in our services. This means we aren’t always original, and I don’t care. I’m not doing this to be original, I’m doing it to seek and save the lost. And if I can build a bridge from me to a lost person by using their culture, I’ll do it. So we use secular music before and at the opening of our services, we’ll do top ten lists or movie clips on the topic we’re studying. We “package” our series in cultural ideas. For instance, every year we do a series in October called, “At the Movies” where we take movies from the past year and find their spiritual themes. We did a series called, “Church for the MTV Generation” and focused on a different MTV show each week. Every message goes to the Bible, but we use pop-culture as a bridge to the unchurched. With each series we ask, “How can we connect this to culture?”

And it’s not just the names of the series or sermons, it’s what we do within the message. We use illustrations and examples from today. Which, by the way, would not include stories from World War II, World War I, or the Civil War (unless your target is unchurched people who are 60, 80, or 160).

It’s also about the music we use. We don’t do “contemporary Christian music” because there’s nothing contemporary about it. If you took most contemporary Christian songs and played them on a secular station people would say, “What the crap is that?!?” (and not because of the lyrics). The songs we use sound like the music the people we’re trying to reach listen to.

Want to reach people who don’t like church? Build a bridge to them by using their culture. Next time we’ll take a look at the other side of this.

Until then … it’s game time baby!

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