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Reality Check. What a new generation really thinks about Christianity … and why it matters. Kevin Bowman, [email protected] Dave Davis, [email protected] PowerPoint download , Sheltered. Current perception

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reality check

Reality Check

What a new generation really thinks about Christianity

… and why it matters

Kevin Bowman, [email protected]

Dave Davis, [email protected]

PowerPoint download,

  • Current perception
    • Christians are boring, un-intelligent, old-fashioned and out of touch with reality
  • Goal perception
    • Christians are engaged, informed and offer sophisticated responses to the issues people face
  • Cultural relevancy & the need to pass the baton
    • The church must be able to reach today’s varied sub-cultures
  • Our image & branding problem
    • Looking in, outsiders do not see everything that Christianity has to offer (salvation, community, etc.)
  • Why this perception
    • We don’t understand the “real world;” we’ve reduced faith to attendance & not sinning; we’re not willing to think; we live in a bubble
a faith that doesn t make sense
A faith that doesn’t make sense
  • The young thrive on unexpected experiences & enjoy searching for new sources of input; willing to try almost anything
  • They grew up as one of the most “protected” generations & enjoy defying the “safe life”
  • They resist simple answers, favor mystery, and are OK with ambiguity
  • They enjoy spending time with those who believe differently, as a way to push & expand their opinions
  • A faith that is not willing to address thorny issues is not useful or attractive
the good old days are gone
The “good old days” are gone
  • Today’s youth do not lead what we’d consider to be “conventional” lifestyles
    • But they have no less needs; perhaps even greater
  • The cultural environment has changed more than we can comprehend
    • Responding with, “Every generation faces this gap; we toughed-it out & you should too,” doesn’t acknowledge the scope of this shift
    • Businesses are adapting & changing; schools are, our government is. The church must also.
the buster mosaic normal
The Buster & Mosaic normal
  • Non-traditional family structure (1:20 vs. 1:3)
  • Sex: earlier, more partners, marriage not required, widespread divorce
  • More frequently use drugs, alcohol, profanity
  • More feel lonely, unfulfilled, & stressed-out
  • Desperation & suicide more prevalent
a painful contrast
A painful contrast
  • The fact that Christianity does offer so much makes this perception hurt even more
    • Christianity does offer a sophisticated, livable response to the nature of the world
    • Christianity does offer a fulfilling, contextualized life
  • Outsiders don’t see Christian contributions pushing culture forward through arts, literature, science, social justice, music, government, etc.
    • We are not meeting cultural expectations
call to action
Call to action
  • Accepting responsibility
    • It is our duty to help a broken world, but it’s not easy or intuitive
    • The world won’t come to our doorstep, we have to embrace our task with humility & energy
    • God wants us in the gritty & raw places in people’s lives
  • Not being fearful & being prepared
    • Do not be afraid to engage the world & all it’s rough edges; be confident & do so in love
    • We must be influencers; we cannot wait for or assume someone else will address the world’s doubts
  • Not being offended & being in, not of
    • Being shocked by outsiders natural behavior often causes us to isolate ourselves or go on “crusades” which harm our image
    • The culture may be offensive, but we cannot take offense
    • Need both purity & proximity; living our message
next quarter
Next quarter
  • Being culturally-relevant through a worship-filled life
  • Feedback & resources