June 6, 2006

Study Culture or Study People?

Andy Stanley was just interviewed for Leadership Magazine for which he took a lot of flack from bloggers and opinioneers (Leadership Blog: Out of Ur: Is Ministry Leadership Different 2: a response to Andy Stanley).

But I found this quote:

"I don't feel like I am a student of culture...But I understand people, and I think that's more important than understanding culture. Honestly. Because pop culture is just the flowers on top of the stems. And I think for pastors, that's important, because they feel like they have to get into culture. They just have to get into people."

I think I agree with this assessment. Pop culture rises quickly and, just as quickly, fades. Two years ago I heard George Hunter III say in a conference "the church needs to keep up with traditional culture not pop culture." His point being that there is an underlying, basic culture that stays constant no matter how much pop culture changes. It is this basic culture that the church must at least keep up with.

Andy Stanley makes an excellent point about studying people. The times change, but people, essentially stay the same. Their reactions and decisions all seem to stay the same. Their basic needs seem to stay the same whether they are pre-modern, modern, or post-modern. There may be some slight changes, but people are still people. The problem is that many times those in leadership of the church simply don't understand people. Or, they try to work against people instead of using what they know to gain moments of sharing the Kingdom of God.

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