The professors syllabusPreparation
for the postmodern midterm... overview of this cultures morals, language and
enemys strategy...Professor McEvils cribsheet or principles for relating to
postmoderns through art...how one church uses a gallery venue
Postmodern postcards...successful ideas from other
Mission resources... strategies, videos, books and websites to help you reach
In the artsy Highlands area of Louisville, Kentucky, theres an art gallery
thats created a big vibe from its quality of showings. The gallery is actually
an evangelistic outreach of the Sojourn, a mission church originally aimed at
postmoderns. The gallery gives us an opportunity to reach out to our community,
says Daniel Montgomery, pastor of Sojourn.
The church meets on Sunday nights. People tell us all the time that we dont
look like a church because the congregation is filled with tattooed and
pierced-out people, mostly in their early 20s, says Montgomery. Rather than
using seeker services, we use our worship service as a way to build up
believers; we think its evangelistic because they see how we love God.
He used to show film clips in the service but found that emerging
generations are so inundated with images that they dont respond as well to
clips as Baby Boomers.
top: Associate Pastor Scott Callahan lights candles before the service at
Impact Fellowship Church in Arlington, Texas. middle: Impact Fellowship brings
in bands like Spin 490 to lead worship for their mostly postmodern
Montgomery does a straight expository sermon, but the church does offer the
Lords supper every week. We need to do the dirty work of getting to know people
and learning to speak their language, says Montgomery.
In a remote area of Alberta, Canadanear Banff National ParkWayne Snider
serves food to a postmodern crowd. He says his ministry is relationship-driven,
but it took some time for the young people to develop trust. They werent used
to someone who wasnt after something, says Snider. Theyd ask, What do you
want?, and Id reply that I was just trying to show them Gods love. Snider says
many of the postmoderns he encounters have rejected the traditional church. As
a result, They dont have a clear concept of sin. They have a very subjective
morality. Theyll say, I do drugs, and I sleep with my girlfriend, but I dont
see anything wrong with that. Snider says his response to this is to talk to
them about an emptiness in life, that void in their being.
People who worship in postmodern churches seem to be comfortable with a
full-body worship experience, including self-expression during songs, fragrant
candles and incense. They also are returning to symbolic icons in their worship
centers such as a cross and an altar.
Photos by Stewart House
Celebrating the Lords supper every week is not uncommon in a postmodern
church, because young people want symbols and sensory experiences in worship,
says Kent Keller of Kendall Church in Miami, Florida. They like to smell and
feel the experience. Citing social commentator Neil Postman, Keller says one
way to understand postmodernsand their non-linear thinkingis to imagine a deck
of cards. In the past, we could be certain of the order of the cards. For
instance, if you revealed a king followed by a queen, it was logical to assume
the next card might be a jack. With postmoderns, the deck has been shuffled and
you have no idea whats coming next.
Aaron Harvie at Riverside Community Church in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania,
says hes found postmoderns want the message straight-on with no frills. We give
them the truth in all its power and rawness, and weve seen a greater response
to that than when we used to deliver it in a flashy package.
In a postmodern church, according to Bill Bruenle, church planting
missionary of Paradise, California, The pastor serves the community. He
facilitates their giftedness, cultural propensities and ethnicities. He leads
by supporting what God created them to be. Conformity is seen as antithetical
When ministering to postmoderns, Church Planting Strategist Brad Sergeant
Approach postmoderns as a mission group. Find out their beliefs and
behaviors, where there is common ground with scripture, and develop a strategy
Go slowly and develop a model that can self-adjust as the culture
Redefine success as church faithfulness over church growth.
Design an intercultural and multi-generational church.
Ask the questions, What kind of church will your kids or grandkids attend?
and How do we begin to move toward being that church?
Christians in America can no longer evangelize using only the Bible if they
hope to reach people living in a postmodern nation, Southwestern Seminary
Professor Frank Harber told Baptist Press. If you go to someones house and you
knock on their door and you try to share with them the gospel and the only
presentation you know is six scriptures from the Bible and they say, I dont
believe the Bible, then what? The days of lazy evangelism, when Christians
could present the gospel with the Bible and no supporting evidence, are gone,
says Harber, who teaches evangelism.
ABOVE LEFT: Churches like Impact Fellowship in Arlington, Texas,
have found that candles are meaningful to postmoderns. ABOVE RIGHT: May Jean
Cheah sings during a worship service at the Impact Church in
Examining Romans 1, Harber says God has revealed himself to humanity and
that Christians can use three principles drawn from the text to help people
find God. First, people should look up Romans 1:18-20, which says, God is
Then say: If you want to know if theres a God, simply look through a
telescope. The universe is a marvel of orderliness, and when you look out at
this incredible cosmos, what you see is not the remnants of an explosion but
the results of a gigantic God.
Second, people searching for God should look around the world of nature.
Look at the 11 million species of this planet. Look at a microscope and see a
microscopic world that boggles the mind, he says. Nature is preaching thousands
of sermons every day. Cant you see that nature is preaching about the clearly
LEFT: Some churches like the Journey in New York City use
interpretive dance during worship.
Photos by Stewart House, Phil Carpenter
Third, people searching for God should look inside. There are no true
atheists, Harber says, because Romans makes it clear that everyone knows God
exists. Atheists, he says, are those who have suppressed the truth. In a world
of growing relativism, Christians need to act on the fact that people want more
truth, not less truth, Harber says.
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