THE POST-CHRISTIAN CONDITION
Why is it significant?
Most people readily acknowledge that our culture engages information distinctively different than previous generations. Our times show considerable difference from the previous century’s world wars, economic depression, industrial expansion and choices in music, movies and fashion. Today, many people feel this change has degraded their country, their values, and their way-of-life. Yet with all this transformation, few, if any, new communicative strategies have surfaced to compensate for this generation’s different thinking and philosophy in ways that will impact and influence them towards Judeo-Christian morality and faith.
Although this observation is seen in many fields, it is especially significant in Christian ministry circles (evangelism, preaching, teaching, leadership, stewardship, worship, discipleship, marriage and family life). Rapid cultural change with little response from the church has caused her to lose ground among many age groups, especially Millennials. Whereas previous era ministry strategies contained Christian-based tenets that once connected with people, many ministry approaches (sermons, lessons, programs, etc.) that use the same “old school” ways today no longer resonate with post-Christian audiences.
As a result, today’s world is not only “post-Christian” in its engagement, but also “non-Christian”, even “anti-Christian” in some circles. The church’s continued decline in presence and voice within her community is felt because she refuses to change and to incorporate new ways of contextualized engagement into her strategy. Despite the presence of the dead horse, some leaders still don’t want to dismount.
By engagement, we refer to communicative strategy, philosophical appeal, human need, mental organization and the way gospel-centric truth is prepared, organized and delivered to present-day audiences. While the content of the gospel never changes, the reality is that people in general and western culture in particular has changed. Change for change-sake is rarely productive, yet change in order to identify and to reach an evolving culture with the gospel emboldens leaders with new and fresh opportunities to connect with their communities.
The gravity of the Post-Christian Condition confronts leaders with significant implications and consequences. If we do not change, we could lose an entire generation for the gospel. It is time for us to wake up, to smell the roses in the post-Christian garden, and to make substantive changes in the way we engage this society. A new generation has arisen that does not know the life-changing hope of the gospel. The soul of our society continues to disintegrate morally, potentially threating internal collapses spiritually, socially, economically and culturally. To choose not to change is to miss a core principle of the Incarnation: truth becoming flesh and identifying with our culture. Failure to act is an act to fail.