The Clash Of Cultures: Traditions or Relationships


Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part VII

A friend of mine wished to host a Biker BBQ in a church parking lot as an outreach to the Biker community. Monies raised would support a Christian orphanage in Guatemala. His dilemma was the church’s “Sunday Worship Service” overlapped the time of his Biker BBQ.  The church at first embraced his endeavor having a “Biker Sunday” featuring a Harley Davidson motorcycle on the church platform. This exposed the clash of cultures as Christian bikers and church people participated in the church activities inside the building while the non-Christian bikers party hearty in the parking lot.

Why do churches feel you have to enter their culture before they will accept you? Why do Christians expect non-Christians to come into their unfamiliar church world rather than infiltrating the culture of the non-Christian? And they call this “outreach”? Only a handful of believers with an evangelistic passion were willing to skip “church” to serve chicken to the bikers and hang out with them, speak their language, and accept them for who they are, not what we, as Christians, wish them to be. Only after “church” was over did the church people filter to the parking lot to buy chicken, often sitting in their own clusters.

When is the institutional church going to realize that programs in their own facility is not the most effective way to evangelize the non-churched? One-one-one relationships built daily with friends, neighbors, and casual acquaintances in their familiar territories will build trust and open doors to share Jesus. Meeting them at their level is far more effective.

When Dr. Anthony Campolo of Eastern College spoke to a group in York, PA, he asked, “How many of you got saved through a mass Crusade, like Billy Graham’s?” One or two hands were raised. He continued, “How many of you were saved through radio or television?” Another couple hands were elevated. “How many through a church service? A dozen or so hands were raised. “How many of you met Jesus through one-on-one contact with another believer?” Eighty-five percent of those present raised their hands. The passion of individual believers to evangelize is far more effective than organized church programs. The organized church will spend a massive amount of money to support an evangelistic crusade program believing it is worth it if only one person gets saved. Common believers can do that daily at minimum cost just by building one-on-one relationships with people they know.

Maybe as a church we need to reexamine how we do evangelism. Only a change of mindset can take the church out of their culture into the world to be light and salt to it!