Recently, our church adopted a new mission statement. The purpose of which is to succinctly state our primary means of fulfilling the Great Commission. Our mission statement reads: First Baptist Powell exists to invest in and equip the next generation to live Christ-transformed lives in a rapidly changing culture. For the purpose of this article, I want to focus on what it means to “live Christ-transformed lives in a rapidly changing culture?” More specifically, how should we relate to a culture that is not only changing but often is anti-Christian? It seems to me the church has historically responded to culture in three ways.
- We can JUDGE culture; we can spend all our time and energy condemning those around us who do not share our love for God and morals. This approach constantly sets us at odds with most people and often positions us as adversaries to our neighbors.
- We can AVOID culture; we can retreat into our families, churches, and groups, and live isolated in a Christian sub-culture. This response seeks to ignore those round us, treating our non-Christian friends and neighbor as if they don not matter.
Neither of these responses represent biblical Christianity. In fact, while Jesus condemned sin, His strongest condemnation was for the hypocritical religious people of His day, who were quick to condemn everyone who did not meet their self-derived stands of holiness. And while He established the church as a place of comfort and refuge for His people, His last word to the church was to proclaim the gospel to all people everywhere. I believe there is a better response, a more biblical response, to culture. After all, Jesus told us in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” And Paul would declare in Romans 2:4, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
- Therefore, it would seem that a better, more biblical approach would be for us to BLESS our culture, specifically, we need to BLESS the people God has placed in our lives: our neighbors, extended family, and co-workers.
How can we do that? How can you bless people? Let’s simply break down the word BLESS.
Begin with prayer
Make a list of folks you know that may be away from God and begin praying for them. Ask God to give you opportunities to build a genuine relationship with them.
Engage your friends and neighbors in conversation. Listen for their concerns, needs, passions, i.e. simply get to know them.
We all love this one… eat with them! Invite them into your home; share a meal.
Serve them. Find way to care for them, help them, and simply be their friend: no agenda, just be their friend.
Share the gospel. Let the gospel saturate your life and your words. Show them and tell them about Christ! Along with our other elders, I want to challenge you in 2018 to look for and take opportunities to BLESS at least one other person in our community. We are calling this effort OP2BLESS – Opportunity to BLESS. Individuals BLESSING individuals; families BLESSING families. So that by the end of 2018, we can begin to see our culture transformed, one person at a time. Over the next eleven months, we will work to both remind and equip you to BLESS your neighbors. But do not complicate this process. Begin now praying, listening, eating together, serving and sharing the gospel with the people God has placed in your life. And finally, tell us your stories, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.