Postmodernism is a term that is very hard to define. Many people define it in various ways. I would define Post-modernism as a worldview that establishes truth based on community. Truth has been divorced from relationships, thus allowing each individual to determine truth based on the view of a particular group or community. Postmodernism is not concerned with finding or discovering an absolute, unwavering truth. It focuses on defining truth based on feeling or experience as opposed to logic or reason.I think that the church has been slow at addressing this issue. If we are really going to make a difference in the world around us, we need understand the effect postmodernism is having on us as believers. After studying this issue, I believe that Christians and the church basically react in several ways. Below are a few:
Baptize It: I believe that one of the things that the church has done far too often is take things from the world and incorporated them into the church culture from the Postmodern world and place it under the banner of relevance. We need to realize that relevance is basically knowing the needs of the people in your ministry and how to meet them in a real and tangible way. Jesus did this so well. As He spoke to the crowds, He would tailor His message to meet the needs of the audience. We must do the same. It is ok to incorporate music, video, and other media to reach this generation, but we need to influence the world not the other way around.
Demonize It: In my opinion, this is the most damaging reaction the church has had to Post-modernism. I
think that this comes from fear and misunderstanding. As a human race, when we come up against
something that is confusing or fearful, we tend to reject or criticize it. I was at a concert in rural Kentucky. This was a very conservative, Bluegrass culture. The event was actually a Youth Event to help students understand what they believe and why. The band came out on stage and began to play. The band was your typical youth style rock band. Most of the kids were excited and the crowd was electric. But five minutes into the show 75 people got up and left. They thought that music of this nature should not be played at this type of event. We need to teach our students how to be critical thinkers. We need to understand the culture in which we live and rise to meet them with the gospel message.
Ignore it: I used to be this way when it came to conflict. If I had a problem with someone, instead of trying to work it out, I would ignore it. This only made things worse. Things were taken out of context, feelings
were hurt, and there was a constant tension until one of us took the initiative to resolve the issue. I believe the same thing is happening in the church. Many adults are fearful or confused about what is happening in youth culture. Instead of taking the time to do some research, they just clam up and choose to ignore it. We need adults, pastors, teachers, and parents to rise up and engage this culture. We need to issue the battle cry and lead the charge to reach a generation that desperately needs us.
Critically Engage It: This is the approach that makes the most sense biblically. Jesus chose to fully engage
the people of His time. He took the time to ask the tough questions. He always asked the questions that would go way beyond the surface. As youth pastors, we need to know what our students are involved in and ask the tough questions. For example,14 years ago I did a message series called “MySpace” We took six weeks to look at the who, what, when, where, why, and how of MySpace. MySpace is an internet blog site where students can set up a profile, post media, and blogs about themselves. As I began to research this topic, I looked for our students that had a MySpace account, and I was shocked. Some of the students had revealing photos, lied about there age, and used profanity fluently. I e-mailed these students and asked to be
added to their friends list. Within one hour, I had a student at my house. He asked,” How did you find out about MySpace? He was embarrassed that I had found his site. He puts on a very spiritual front at church, but his site was far from it. Others were excited that I took time to enter their world. If we critically engage the post-modern world, we will truly see change. As youth pastors, we must lead the charge in an evangelical revolution to reach a lost generation.
Will you join me on this journey? I would really like to get your feed back about this issue. Please send me your comments. The only way that we are truly going to make an impact is if we join together to reach this generation. I look forward to our dialogue
So get out there and transform your world…