Creating a Contrast Culture

The Gospel Coalition had an interesting article yesterday titled ‘Create a Contrast Culture in Your Church‘. The article starts of with many people asking what program the church uses to produce the discipling, evangelizing, and hospitality that are easy to see. The answer is not a program, but rather that they offer tools to create a different culture of discipling, evangelizing and hospitality.

One of the phrases that most stuck out to me was: “Think about the local church as an embassy from the future.” I had never thought about that before. Christians on this side of heaven are preparing for a new heaven and a new earth where we will constantly be in God’s presence in a New Jerusalem. I think there has been some great work done on helping us appreciate that heaven will not be us sitting around on clouds playing harps, but instead a place where we will continue to do the things we love to do, but without pain and suffering, just like the Garden of Eden (see Randy Alcorn’s Heaven).

The article then lists 12 ways churches can create a culture that contrasts the culture of the world around them. One of the most important that I see in this list is number five:

Encourage church members to build their lives into one another’s. Yes, we want friendships outside of our churches. But Christians should also prioritize relationships within their churches, where they can leverage the same ministry of the Word in one another’s lives.

I think it’s far too easy to neglect the church family for your own family or for your own wants and desires. I think people have a far too narrow view of their relationships-the relationships they have with people who are believers will last for eternity. The phrase “blood is thicker than water” is true, but the reverse is true for the church body, “water is thicker than blood.” Those of us who have been baptized into the body have a new family that we need to invest our lives into and encourage them regularly, and even more as each day brings us closer to the day of Christ’s return.

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