I've had a question running through my head the last couple days. Are we doing it wrong? Ok, so you are probably wondering what "it" is. What "it," is relating the gospel to our culture. Let me explain.
In Acts you can see where Paul adapted the gospel to meet the people where they were. There was a group of people who had gods for just about everything. They had so many gods, that they even had one known as the "unknown god." Paul stepped in and said the unknown god was the God that he followed. In-fact, this God was the only God. He took something that the people know and related God in a way they could understand.
The same thing happened with Christmas and the Christmas tree. Yes, it has to do with Jesus' birth, but both were placed in relation to pagan holidays and traditions to help people relate to the one true God.
You can find countless stories such as this. You can even hear stories that are taking place today in other countries. We send missionaries over seas and give them free reign to present the gospel in a way people can understand.
Yet...we refuse to do that in America. We refuse to teach the gospel in a way people can relate to. America is different than it was 20 to 50 years ago, yet so many churches want to continue practicing their religion the same way they always have instead of trying to help people see God.
I am sure I am guilty of this. I know there are things that I do and say that really mean very little to those who don't know God. It doesn't relate. It doesn't move them.
I wonder what would happen if instead of being different or doing things the same we tried to reach people where they were. We looked at our culture, found out what the people identified with, looked for their "gods" and began teaching them about the one true God and how it relates to them where they are. It works it other countries. Why would we expect to relate the gospel in one country, yet conformity to age old traditions here?
Could that be a piece of the puzzle as to why a lot of our methods seem to be failing?