Exegete the Culture

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Exegete the Culture

Exegete the Culture

On Friday nights throughout the 90s, I’d often find myself at church events filled with thrills and pizza. I remember those nights filled with skaters doing tricks off ramps, muscle guys ripping up phone books, musical artists rapping about Jesus, and of course, mountains of pizza. As a teenager, while I had a lot of fun at these events, I was thankful to see friends and classmates make decisions for Jesus as a result. Innovative and intentional strategies to communicate and connect with those outside of the church community are highly advantageous in facilitating a space for the Gospel to be delivered. As I grew up, this inspired me to consider ways to attract people to the campus so then the Gospel could be presented.

In today’s context, the church needs to strategize ways to be reintroduced to the surrounding community.  There is a growing sense of doubt behind the intentions of the church, as well as a rising anger over “church hurt” people have experienced. These are real barriers we face, regardless of how much validity we want to give them. The reality is people are not simply going to attend our events or hear our message just because we have something enticing, and even if they do, our message could likely fall on deaf ears as though they were in a time-share meeting. In this current societal state, we need to present ourselves as servants to the community, something our Master, Jesus, was great at. Our events are an opportunity to bless our neighbors.

Annual events, such as a trunk-or-treat, serve our community with a safe place for their kids to have fun. It’s an opportunity to offer a positive experience of a kind and serving church. An outdoor family movie night for the community allows an opportunity to present the church as we are instead of being labeled by what they may have seen on the T.V. or have heard through the grapevine. Every act of kindness and every act of service allows the community to become familiar with who we are, where we are, and what we are about.  Each time a family or an individual engages, it then creates a connection so that, when they are faced with a trial, transition, or trauma, they have a familiar place and face to reach out to.

People are most open to the Gospel when they are going through a trial, transition, or trauma in life, and we want them to know there is a place for them among us. We want them to know there is a God who loves and is ever-present. The connections made through community events is the key to breaking barriers that will lead to strangers joining in on a Sunday morning where the Gospel is preached every week.

Though it may seem odd, community events don’t always have to involve a Gospel message. There is no one-way answer in how to reach the world with the Gospel. Sometimes, it’s about the mission and long game. If the event, activity of blessing, or investment of some sort connects us with the community, it will translate to new attendees on Sunday who will hear the Gospel message. This strategy has proven to soften many ears and hearts to receive the Good News of Jesus. We will do well, as the people of God, to utilize our resources, gifts, and abilities to serve our community with the intention of leading them to a space for the Gospel to be delivered with clarity and care.

There is no greater moment than seeing people saying “yes” to trusting in Jesus. At our church, we are big on celebrations, so we have what we call a “light bulb moment.” When someone says yes to trusting in Jesus, we give them a light bulb to add to our sign which reads, “Welcome Home.”  It’s a way for our church to celebrate with, embrace, and rally around new believers, for it takes a church to raise a Christian.

When we bless others where their felt needs are, it affords us an opportunity to show who we truly are. In other words:

  • We initiate with blessing,
  • We invest in the community, and
  • We invite them to our services… and, of course,
  • We preach the Gospel.

About the Author

Dewayne Coleman, Jr.
Campus Pastor, Clovis Hills Old Town

Dewayne Coleman is a campus pastor at Clovis Hills Old Town Campus. His passion is seeing those who come to trust in Jesus experience the transformative power of the Gospel throughout every area of their lives. Dewayne is a dynamic speaker who is known for his relatable sense of humor and engaging storytelling style of teaching. He currently lives in Fresno with his lovely wife Melissa and their two dogs.

More About Dewayne Coleman, Jr.
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