It is becoming somewhat obvious that what the Church is doing is not influencing the world in which we live – at least not in North America. In fact we might be justified in saying that society is influencing the Church as we see more and more Christians and Church leaders applying their own interpretation to God’s Word and reinterpreting what sin is – and how God views sin – as they justify the blatant sins they are now living in – including divorce and homosexuality to name just two issues (rather sins – let’s call them what God calls them).
So, it is time for the Church to change its tactics and begin to colour outside the lines. Time to keep the message the same as it never changes. Some will need to learn what the real message of the Church is first. Then, we need to think up new ways and methods to reach the world in which we live – colour outside the lines, think outside the box. This is as Jesus would have it!
We need to ask: “What are Christians known for in the world?” Are we known as critics, consumers, copiers, condemners of culture. Or, are we known as cultivators – people who tend and nourish what is best in human culture, who do the hard and painstaking work to preserve the best of what people before us have done? Why aren’t we known as creators – people who dare to think and do something that has never been thought or done before?
We certainly need to change our image and let the world see who we really are. We follow the Creator and so should be so creative that we are constantly being led by God into new ways to present the gospel to the next generation.
Statatics are interesting. It has recently been noted that the Church in the U.S.A. is not reaching the various internationals who live within their borders attending university and are not reaching those of non-Christian backgrounds. And yet expect to reach these same people when going overseas as full-time missionaries or on short-term mission projects. If we can’t reach them on home turf how do we ever expect to win them when they are on their own soil and we are the foreigners trying to reach them when they are submerged in their own culture?
It is time to colour outside the lines. It is time to think creatively. It is time to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit directing us in how to reach the neighbourhoods and cities in which we live – reaching those who are similar to us and those who are not at all like we are for all need the Saviour and the forgiveness He offers to all who will come to Him.
Heidi baker in her book “Miracles” (page 152) states “We want to be found colouring outside the lines, pushing the boundaries of tradition and living lives that are radically obedient and totally available to our awesome God.”
Howard Henrricks (one of my heros) in his book “Colour Outside the Lines” sets out a revolutionary approach to creative leadership for Christian leaders in our world today. And, he is a personal soul-winner and so everything he writes can be applied to the mandate of the Church to seek and save the lost.
Another great book is “Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling” by Andy Crouch. He helps the reader take a good hard look at how we approach our task of changing the culture in which we live. His points can be equally applied to one-on-one soul winning as well as this is THE way to change the culture permanently – one person at a time.
It is time to think outside the box and colour outside the lines.
Come to think of it – another great book is: “Beyond the Box” by Bill Easum and Dave Travis. Worth a read as well.
Whatever it takes – we need to learn the message we are to proclaim and learn it so well that it is always flowing forth from our hearts and minds every opportunity that we have. We need to know a variety of different ways to present it to others. We need to be constantly sharing the gospel and thinking up – discovering – new ways in which to share it. And, it needs to be something “instant” in our lives. We must always be ready to share the reason for the hope that we have.
Time to colour outside the lines!