May 16, 2006

All Things to All People

This post is similar the last post on Target Audience.

On the way home, I was listening to the church planter tapes, and again he made the comment about knowing your target audience and adapting your ministry style to reach that group. Then, he used the typical verse from Paul, "I have become all things to all people..."

Now, there is a tension that must be maintainted. The planter must listen to those in his church and leadership team and be aware of God's leading through them...BUT, he/she cannot lead a church or ministry that is not them. The style has to fit the planter.

We are not in the business of finding what people want and giving it to them. As Tony Campolo says we are to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." We have to take into account that the unchurch (not-yet Christians) are in our midst, but we are still the church. We are not a business.

We must hold in tension being able to speak to the current culture in language that is understandable AND being the people of God. I don't think that Paul meant he was a cultural chameleon, but that he did nothing to offend those whom he was trying to reach. When he was with the Greeks he used their culture, writers, philosophers and poets to speak to them. When he was with the Jews he was able to use Torah, customs, and their culture to speak to them. He was able to do this because he was a Jewish Pharisee who grew up as a Roman citizen. He was not putting on masks or changing his color depending on who was with him, he was able to minister because that is who God made him.

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