The culture at the time of Jesus Christ was one in which tradition was the order of the day, Rome was in power, and the Jewish Chief Priests were the leading spiritual guides. Gentiles were excluded from spiritual conversations, spiritual blessings and the spiritual love of God, or so the Scribes and Pharisees would have you to believe. Existence was the manner in which life was lived. It was during this time when being spiritual meant being legalistic. The culture was divisible by class. The gospel text points to these times as being a space that only the privileged had a place in Heaven.
Jesus came onto the scene with a call from God the Father to create and change the culture.
- Jesus said, “I came into this world to say what is right from wrong. I came to those who do not see might see, and those who do see might be made blind.” 40. Some of the proud religious law-keepers who were with Him heard this. They said to Him, “Are we blind also?” 41. Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin. But because you say, ‘We see,’ you still are guilty of your sin. John 9:39-41 (NLV).
One of the central reasons for the incarnation of Christ was to model a fuller, more spiritual set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices for a people to live, thrive and fulfill the will of His Father. Christian history is replete with attempts by Jesus to create and change the culture. In most cases, this proved difficult for some people to accept.
I believe church starters of today face the same kind of difficulties as Jesus did in his day. Creating and changing culture is always difficult. Church starters must create a culture, which in most cases is a change of culture from whence they have come. Church planters with previous pastoral experience have policies and polities to repeal, rethink or reapply for the betterment of the people they are leading. Church starters without any past pastoral leadership experience must produce culture Ex Nihilo.
As a church starter, with past pastoral experience, I find it wonderfully difficult attempting to create a culture that will transform the young adults in this present age. I often wonder how Jesus would present His transformative culture to the young adults of today. I wonder what kind of allegories, parables or deep thought-provoking spiritual messages would he speak to today’s millennials. I wonder how he would travel around to the places he would go. Would he go by plane, boat or Learjet? What would he wear? Shirt and tie? Jeans or coveralls? Sandals or alligator skin shoes? For rather we believe it or not all these things create an ethos, a manner to which we think, a culture in which we live.
As Christ was aware of the culture of His day, I am acutely aware of the young adults and the culture of this day. What are your thoughts on creating a culture for today’s young adults that would bring them into a more intimate relationship with Jesus?