Growing your Church out of the Culture

John Burke helped us engage culture by facing questions, not answers.

 Context Questions

  • Who do we exist for? The “righteous” or the “sinners.”
    • Pharisees aren’t healthy, they’re hiding. Jesus works with those who are honest, not those who pretend to look good.
    • People are asking “What was my experience?” Not “What was the content?” In other words, do we smell like Jesus or the Pharisees?
    • Top two questions John runs into: 1) What do you think about gays? 2) What do you think about other religions? No seeker cares about your theology on the front end; they are putting out a tolerance litmus.
  • Do we look as messy as Jesus’ ministry?
    • Two Biggest Needs: Loneliness (people need real relationships) and brokenness (everyone is messed up by someone or with something).
    • If your friends aren’t becoming the church, something is wrong with what you’re modeling as a pastor.
  • How will we know if we’re reaching them?
    • Are you hearing stories? Are you telling stories?
    • Baptisms
    • Without stories or baptisms, you start to wonder if you’re just shuffling the deck of the already convinced.
    • Your first hundred people in the church plant determine who you’ll reach. They define your culture.

Vision Questions 

  • Who are we becoming?  Language matters a lot. What sticky statements in culture capture your message? John’s include, “Come as you Are” and “No Perfect People Allowed.” The message they wanted to communicate was grace.
  • Am I living the vision?
    • Do you use and enjoy the product you’re selling.
    • Keep saying the vision until people are sick of it, then you know you’re on.

Leading Through Teaching

  • How can I tie this to everything else we do?
    • Inspire them to trust God more and enter a spiritual community.
    • Each message should push them toward the big picture you are shooting for.
  • What the one thing I want them to get?  Don’t use hot topics (abortion, sex outside marriage, homosexuality, etc…) as illustrations, but as topics themselves. Using a shotgun from a distance only wounds.
  • What’s their resistance?  You have to teach to their natural resistance in the topic.
  • Will I lose them?  People have 5-8 minute attention spans. You’ll lose them if you don’t break it up with illustrations.

Strategic Leadership

  • How does the mission get accomplished?
  • How does everybody get involved? Is it clear to them?
    • Your connection strategy changes as you grow.
  • How do non-believers become multiplying leaders?
    • Everyone can lead a few people.
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