5 ways the church can better engage culture.
Proverbs 30:19 speaks of mysteries, and the mystery of the ship on the sea, I never understood until I came close.
In the summer of 2009, I visited Belfast Harbor in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The harbor is famous as the birthplace of the Titanic! I watched as large, gleaming ships illuminated in blazing lights exited the bay. Up close by the shoreline, nothing I have seen eclipsed them in beauty and grandeur. There is beauty and grandeur to a ship in the midst of the ocean. And no, you don’t see much of this beauty on a ship docked at the shore; the ocean completes the ship.
Like the ship in the ocean, the church is in the world, and the world beautifies the church. Because without the world, the church has no purpose.
You cannot separate the church from the world, yet the church must not go into the world, neither should the world seep into the church, as both scenarios spell doom for the church. One thing the church must do is stay afloat and in touch with the world because that is how she fulfills her purpose in the world and glorifies the head of the church—Christ.
As the church, we must be in touch with the world without becoming one with it. A church that goes into the world is dead, and a church that is out of touch with the world has failed in its purpose.
Today, I am sharing 5 ways the church can better engage culture, drawing inspiration from the timeless wisdom of the Bible.
1- Meet Practical Needs
“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” – James 2:15-16
Engaging culture goes beyond mere words; it involves meeting practical needs. The Church can better serve its community by identifying and addressing the tangible needs within different cultural contexts. This could include initiatives such as food drives, medical assistance, educational support, or partnering with local organizations to make a positive impact. By demonstrating Christ’s love through practical actions, the church becomes a tangible representation of God’s care.
2- Speak the Truth with Grace
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” – Ephesians 4:15
The church should be a voice of hope, a lighthouse, offering guidance in a compassionate manner. By addressing cultural issues with love and understanding, we can present the Gospel’s transformative power in a way that resonates with people from diverse backgrounds. Balancing truth and grace allows us to engage in meaningful conversations and bridge cultural gaps.
3- Serve the Community
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
The Church’s purpose goes beyond the walls of the church. We are called as light, not to shine in the light but in darkness. We are called salts of the world and not of the church. Our purpose in the world is to serve the community. Are you reaching out beyond the walls of your church?
A church that is no beckoning light to its community has failed in its primary purpose of existence in the world. We are called to beautify the world and not the church because Christ is already the head of the church, which is beautiful. We are called to shine in the darkness and not in the light. So how much are you serving your community/ how much of an influence do you hold in your community?
We are called as lights, to shine in the darkness, not in the light. Quit complaining about the darkness. Just shine!
4- Foster Authentic Community
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” – Acts 2:42
The world longed to join as the church broke bread as one. The early church impacted the Roman culture in their days by fostering authentic communities with the church, and this bond went on to influence Romans for Christ. When we foster authentic community amidst ourselves, the world sees it and wants in on it.
The church should be where individuals feel connected, valued, and supported. By fostering genuine relationships within the congregation and reaching out to the wider community, the church becomes a beacon of love and unity.
5- Bridge the Gap
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28
The church has the power to bridge divides and bring people together. It should be a place where cultural, racial, and social barriers are broken down. By actively promoting inclusivity and unity, the church can engage with culture in a transformative way. When the church exemplifies love and acceptance, it becomes a beacon of hope for a divided world. Unfortunately, some of our churches today are replicas of the racial divide we have in the world today. We are mending the veil once torn apart through the sacrifice of Christ in those threads of political, social, and racial divides in the church.
The church plays a vital role in shaping and influencing society. As followers of Christ, we are called to be a part of the world and actively engage with culture. In order to effectively impact the world around us, it is crucial for the church to find ways to connect with and relate to the diverse cultures we encounter.
Our purpose in being dubbed “lights” is to illuminate the night, not the day. Don’t whine about the gloom. Glow!
Do you know of other ways we can engage culture and make meaningful and lasting impacts in our world? Please share in the comments box below. I’d love to hear from you.
Join our mailing list to get inspiration in your inbox. Don’t forget to sign up for our Monday morning adrenaline shot if you need that extra motivation for Monday mornings.