The ministry team and I at my church were having a staff meeting today, and the subject of people smoking by the doors of the church came up.
In many Bible Belt churches, a deacon would throw the offender off the property for “defiling God’s house.” In Kentucky, where many people make a living farming tobacco, and it seems as if 1 of of 3 people smoke.
In our discussion, we had to figure out how to minister to those who smoke, and provide a place for them to do so where it is less offensive, without making them feel like smoking was worse than adultery or lying, etc. Other than the argument of defiling the temple of the Holy Ghost – our bodies, there is no Scripture to say that smoking is a sin, by the way – and by far not on an equal plane as gossip, gluttony, lying, fornication, etc).
So our solution is that we’re providing an area outside where there is an awning, ashtrays, and benches along with information about classes they can attend to help break addictions. Since they’re going to go outside and smoke, why not provide a designated area where it won’t bother visitors or members who don’t wish to walk through cigarette smoke? If we deal with this right, we may actually have an opportunity to minister to the more pressing issues, like getting them off meth, or dealing with that “shacking-up” issue.
Check out this article on cultural relevance.
Discuss if you’re not sick of hearing about it by now!
I enjoyed reading the article. Here’s some of my input:I hear the term “cultural relevance” so many times, I’m almost numb to it. Yet I’m beginning to embrace a new perspective on the subject. I believe that being culturally relevant is to minister the gospel in a way that particular culture understands while not pushing the “extra” standards of another. I believe meeting the needs of the culture you are ministering to should be the TOP priority when wishing to be culturally relevant. Changing your standards of living or in the name of cultural relevance is insane (if God indeed called you to live by those standards). If I have a conviction against drinking, and if I go to Germany where EVERYBODY drinks, do I preach against someone having a beer, or do I change my standard and begin drinking beer myself? – NEITHER! I live by my conviction and preach the gospel (maybe against drunkenness) so that someone can come to Christ. You can’t have a Bible belt southern-gospel style church service in the inner city of Chicago or New York City expecting the urban society to receive, nor can you can’t integrate hip-hop style worship into a southern-gospel style church in a rural town of white folks. You have to speak the “language” of those you are ministering to so that they can receive. That’s my take on responsible cultural relevance. Anybody?