Culturally Relevant?

Should the church be culturally relevant or counter-cultural? This question is critical for those who are interested in evangelism. The word that is commonly used here is "missional." For some missional means that Christians should fulfill the social aspect of the gospel: feeding the poor, taking care of widows and orphans, etc. For these, missional has an actional aspect, Christianity is about doing something.

For others missional refers to a descriptor with which one approaches ministry from a functional aspect. Here, missional means that the church becomes indigenous to the culture to reach those who need the gospel message. In other words, a church in the Northeast United States should look different from a church in the Midwest, or the Southeast, etc. However, the central gospel message of the cross, and empty tomb does not change. Thus, relevancy is critical to growth of the body of Christ. Sometimes this approach is called Incarnational. In order for the church to be effective, the church must reflect the environment that surrounds it.

However, one final note. The gospel is always counter-cultural in a fallen world. It is the gospel’s intention to “infect” the culture with its claims, disguised in relevancy. But its intention is to reveal the truth that life must conform to Jesus Christ. More on this later…