The church today is dealing with an identity crisis. Many
congregations are struggling to maintain relevancy as society rapidly changes
in our Post Modern world. Some maintain traditional forms of worship that have
been passed down from generation to generation, but are finding it difficult to
attract the younger generations who consider them irrelevant to their
lifestyles. Others utilize modern marketing techniques, audio/visual systems,
The struggle in the church to deal with the social changes and values of the world is not a new problem; it has been around since the early days of the church.
John 17:14 -
The real identity crisis is not rooted in staying relevant to the current cultural trends or maintaining our church traditions. The real identity problem is this:
How do you cultivate an other-
This has been an issue throughout the history of the church and has resulted in tensions between traditional approaches to church life, the desire of scriptural expressions, the need for sociological relevancy, and the hunger for supernatural expression.
We can see these tensions displayed throughout church history in the unique rituals, liturgies, theologies, and even in physical church architectures.
We can see this in the protestant reformation project, which was as much about adapting to the social changes emerging from the Renaissance as it was correcting problems in the Roman Catholic church. We can see this in the Pentecostal revival, Evangelical movement, Charismatic movement, Seeker Sensitive movement, Modern Worship Music project, and even the current New Apostolic Reformation movement.
Often these tensions are tempered by the
church focusing on the day-
So in order to deal with the issues raised from John 17:14, we should ask ourselves this question;
Do we really want to even attempt to
cultivate and other-
We can be traditionalist, conservative,
liberal, evangelical, or even Pentecostal. We can add modern music, video
clips, and drama to our worship time. We can add all types of helps ministry;
alcohol and substance abuse, physical and mental abuse victims, marriage
and trauma counseling, immigration services, etc. We can create an adult
education program and teach different self-
All of these things can be very helpful and
good for the members of our church, but we should be honest and admit that we
are primarily helping them better adjust and interact with the world around
them; they are becoming “better-