How to Communicate in a Post-Christian Culture
Christendom as we’ve known it is a thing of the past. Christianity is moving toward the margins of society. I’m not here to talk about politics. But I do think it’s time we start realizing that western culture is not synonymous with Christianity any longer. Some might even say that Christianity and Christian values are under attack. Just look at Senator Bernie Sanders’ response when he discovered Russell Vought, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, holds to the Christian belief of salvation; or look at the media backlash when Dan Truett, CEO of Chick-Fil-A, reiterated his belief in the orthodox Christian view of marriage; or the fact that the United States Supreme Court is hearing a case (and appears split) in which a business owner chose to not do business with a potential customer because they were requesting a wedding cake he could not support because of his Christian views. I could go on.
It’s not just in the United States either. In Canada, doctors and law graduates are being refused licensing based on where they graduate from or what their personal views and objections may be. Western Europe has been far-more post-Christian than North America, and for quite some time now.
So, it’s safe to say that Christianity is no longer the “moral majority” of the past. As Christians, we are no longer at the center of political, social, or cultural power. I’d argue that’s a good thing. As pastor Matt Chandler points out in his book Take Heart, throughout history, Christianity flourishes while in the margins of society.
But how do we communicate to a post-Christian culture?
We need to be purposeful
As churches, we need to seek out opportunities to share the gospel with our neighbors and community. We need to take every opportunity that God provides us and make sure we’re living out our faith in everyday living. That means we need to equip our people to know how to share the gospel and to communicate what’s happening in the church. Being purposeful means we need to think through the details and have a strategy so we can be sure our message is clear and concise.
We need to be resourceful
It’s not going to always be so easy to advertise outreach events in our community. In some ways, we already see this. For example, any relationship between churches and public schools is either non-existent or is like walking a tightrope. Some businesses may choose to not promote a church-related or Christian event. So we need to be creative and resourceful in what we’re communicating with our neighbors and how we go about advertising. Rely more heavily on word-of-mouth marketing (or outreach). Relationships beget relationships. People trust brands, services, and causes that are talked about from people they know. Not everything the church does needs to have an elaborate advertising campaign in order to be effective. Use your resources wisely.
We need to be relevant
The gospel hasn’t changed. It’s not going to change. But in some ways, how we present the gospel does need to change. We don’t need to fully embrace the current culture. On the flip side, we don’t need to condemn culture entirely either. As local churches, our job is to make disciples. So that means we need to know our neighborhood, our community, and our people. Meet your audience (your community) where they’re at. Speak to them in a way that they understand. And redeem culture, when possible, for the glory of the gospel.
Communicating in a post-Christian society is a challenge. It’s going to continue to be more challenging in the years to come. So let’s be purposeful, resourceful, and relevant in our communication.