Many changes have taken place in our culture over the decades. The church has lost Home field advantage. It’s time to think like the “away” team.
Let me sustain what I mean: In the 1950’s, people generally believed in a Creator God, the notion of sin, and in the truth that Jesus is God’s Son. When people hear the gospel, many were ready to respond.
By the 1970’s the culture had become more liberal. Moral positions once held by society at large began to be challenged and then crumble.
By the 1990’s, people were hardening against Christianity. It was harder to get them to come to a crusade, or a special service, or to hear a visiting evangelist. A number of objections to Christianity had to be removed before the gospel could even gain a hearing. Author John Tice describes four of these objections: Christians are weird; Christianity is untrue; Christianity is irrelevant; and Christianity is intolerant. Sometimes, though, if a Christian could adequately respond to these objections and provide answers to their intellectual issues, people would then sometimes be willing to give the gospel a hearing.
Today people are on a totally different path. Our culture is now defined by tolerance and permissiveness. People no longer engage with faith in order to accept or reject it. They simply reject it out of hand. The church is now the visiting team in our society. The crowd is not cheering for us. A new game plan is needed.
I’m excited about our Away Team theme! The gospel never changes, but paradigms, approaches, and methods do. In Richmond this fall, we will begin to look at a new playbook that reflects the changes in our world. Welcome to the Away Team.
– Jim Tune, president of 2015 ICOM