Culture Carriers?

I’ve been thinking a bit about how much I re-enforce church as it is and how much I bring a new culture.

In lots of ways I’m sure I do quite a bit of re-enforcing.  When I go somewhere new to lead worship I tend to ask them what they usually do and probably don’t stray too far from that.  I do that consciously because I know that I’m not going to be there with that community to catch any fall-out or to discuss the differences.  I’m also aware how much people struggle with change and for many congregations too much change all at once on a Sunday morning would be counter productive.

It’s also easier for me.  I know where I am and what I’m doing.  I know what comes next and I get to be a little creative when writing a sermon.

A big part of me worries about that.  Am I supporting the status quo by doing this?  I could justify it as building trusting relationships with communities so that I can then challenge them but is there time for that?

The other part of me is culture carrying.  I’m 35.  I’m still in and around the church.  That in itself if counter cultural for the church.  There ain’t many of us about!

My job is to support and develop children’s and youth work.  There are some hugely encouraging things happening.  People are talking about new forms of church, using technology and being creative.  They want me to be part of that.

So how do you do it?  How do you carry a new culture effectively?  Is it possible or is it a case of just starting something entirely new?

I worry that by involving young people in the existing structures we create fodder for the pews and the committees, but then if we don’t involve new people in these places change will be even slower to come.

Any thoughts?

1 thought on “Culture Carriers?”

  1. ‘Any thoughts?’…. hmmm yes, quite a few.
    I am in a similar position to you. I am a little older (43) and I am not paid to do the youth work I do (drama/youth group) and I don’t regularly preach, just lead BCLC every week with my wife Anne. But as you say, there are so few of us about we need to stick together as best we can.
    It sounds like you get a lot from both preaching to ‘other’ more traditional churches and the work you do with young people that is a bit more cutting edge. I would advise you to carry on with both but don’t try to bring them together. The dying ‘church’ in it’s current form may need the young people but there is no way the young people need the church. They need some safe space, they need some adult interaction, they need to explore their spiritual selves.
    So on the one hand you have a group of people nearing the end of their faith journey, a group that have missed the opportunity to change and must now surely die, and on the other you have a group of people who are just starting out on theirs. These 2 groups are disparate in terms of their age, their needs and their overall outlook on a life of faith that you cannot possibly hope to bridge the gap, especially, as you say, when there are so few of you (us) in a position to do so.
    As Bob Dylan so eloquently sang ‘he not busy being born is busy dying’. By all means make sure the patient (church) is comfortable in their last remaining days but your focus and your energies has to be channeled towards the young. Give them the help they need to bring to life and develop a ‘church’ that works for them as oppose to a church they have to work for.

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