Recently, my husband and I decided to leave the large missional church we’ve been a part of in order to be a join of a small group of people planting a new church. It’s exciting to watch God at work as this new adventure begins to unfold. The phrase “culturally relevant” pops up often in conversations about how to go about developing this ministry What words will we use? How will we use media? What about social networking? How will we “leverage culture” as we try to reach out and serve in a community where most people don’t attend church?
As the point person for the development of mission-shaped small groups, I realize that the vision I’m casting for group life is “counter-cultural”. Our culture, especially through marketing, is doing a great job of discipling us into a live characterized by the three “isms”; individualism, materialism and consumerism. I matter most. It’s all about me. If I want it, I should get it. Life revolves around “me”.
As I read scripture, I believe that God calls us to a shared life, a life of “we”. He calls us into a people that are his very own (Titus 2:14), into family (Mark 3:31-31), into a body (1 Cor. 12:27), and he calls us to unity with purpose (John 17:20-30). Jesus modeled shared life with his disciples. The "one-anothers" are scatted throughout the New Testament (love one another, encourage one another, bear one another’s burdens, etc.). I don’t hear a lot of me-isms in those phrases or passages. I’m concerned with developing small groups of people who covenant to a shared life together as they grow in Christlikeness and join God’s mission together.
That leaves me with this question. How do we establish counter-cultural groups in a culturally relevant way?