Here’s an interesting article for those in post-Christian cultures. It was written, I think, with an eye to the United States, but my guess is that it may be more broadly applicable. Written by Karl Vaters, pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California, the article is called, “8 Assumptions Pastors Can’t Make In A Post-Christian Culture.”
Here are the 8 assumptions with some key quotes:
- Biblical literacy.
Instead of getting upset at people for not knowing about my favorite Bible story, I get to see their eyes light up as they are introduced to something they never knew before. There’s less unlearning to do, and more chances to start people with a fresh take on the timeless truths of scripture.
- Frequent attendance
For instance, when I prepare a sermon series, I have to assume that most of the people will miss several of the sermons, so each message needs to be more self-contained than in years past. And churches need a larger pool of volunteers than we used to need, because they’re more likely to serve on a rotation instead showing up every week.
- Consistent giving
The good news is, this sense of value isn’t necessarily about “what’s in it for me?” but “what good is this really doing?”
- Political alignment
We have to stop assuming that everyone who believes in Jesus also shares our political views. Otherwise, we will increasingly end up with churches that are more united around political convictions than shared biblical truths.
- Awareness Of And Agreement About Biblical Sexual Ethics
But when someone comes to faith in Christ today, not only can we not assume they will want to follow a biblical moral code, many will have no idea there is one to follow.
- An Understanding Of The Reality Of Sin
We need to walk with people through the real-world effects of their decisions, including being transparent about our own failings and their consequences.
- A Recognition Of The Need For Salvation
Instead of knowing they’re lost, people feel lonely and disconnected. An awareness of sin has given way to a sense of hopelessness. And self-discovery has replaced a desire to be saved.
People still need Jesus. But the terms they use to describe that need have changed.
- An Acceptance Of Salvation Through Christ Alone
Even after being drawn to Jesus, people are more likely to try to add Jesus to their current lifestyle than to abandon sinful behaviors as a necessary element in embracing biblical discipleship.