Adapting to the Times
Is the ministry you are leading growing? There are times we have to be honest with ourselves and say, “No, it’s really not that productive right now.” In the New Testament, it says that the church grew and new believers were added daily. I am not trying to make people feel bad here, just pointing out that sometimes the reason we are not growing is that we aren’t paying attention. To what? To the changing culture.
We can see in the bible that God’s servants adjusted to the cultures and people they ministered to by finding the most effective way to present the gospel in each setting. I am not talking about compromising the bible truths for the sake of getting along with the culture that so often strays from God’s truth. I am talking about helping them understand God’s truth by finding the best ways to get them to listen, hear and follow Jesus. I like this saying: “The methods are many the principles are few, the methods can change but the principles never do.” We seek to honor all of God’s principles in His Word and yet we must seek to find the best methods to get this done. Here are some good questions for us to ask ourselves:
Do I really know the culture of my city and the way these people think?
If I just showed up new in town, what would I do to reach my city in the most effective way?
What creative changes could I make to get people to pay more attention to the gospel truths and this church I pastor?
What is the best way to communicate this gospel message to my community?
1 Corinthians 9:22b says, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (NIV) Acts 13:36 says, “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep…” (NIV) And in 1 Chronicles 12:32 we read, “…men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” (NIV)
Do we understand the times we live in? Are we serving God’s purpose in our own generation and not serving with the same methods that a previous generation did? Are we willing by all means possible to save some?
Missionaries study and learn the culture before they go to live in a foreign land. We are missionaries too! We need to know who we are ministering to and ask God to reveal to us the best means possible. Then we need to move into action. If we pray and ask God, He will surprise us and show us amazingly creative ways to reach the lost. Remember, the Holy Spirit is the most creative force in the universe.
Synonyms for adapting are: Modifying, adjusting, changing, reshaping. Lord, help us to do just that with our ministries so that we might be more effective and reach as many as possible!
Grace and Truth,
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