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Culture can possess a dominating, mesmerizing force over a person or generation without absolutes. I am not talking about youth culture nuances such as clothing or music preferences. This is beyond global demographic distinctions.

One of the cultural traits manifested by two recent generations but mastered by the Millennials is performance. Unfortunately, this cultural trait seems to have “found religion” – working its way into the church. Culturally, believers have become performance orientated, thus transforming everything into a performance . . .or an event even in our spiritual lives.

My concern is the creation of a Christian Event Culture. Such a culture can have devastating effects on a believer’s life, a youth group, Bible study fellowship, or church. We must be careful to guard between striving for excellence yet yielding to an event mindset.

It is easy for the event mindset to encroach our personal spiritual growth patterns.

I want to suggest three ways to overcome the Christian Event Culture.

  1. Establish your personal growth on principles. – Determine the scriptural principles upon which your disciplines are founded.
  2. Create a practical personal growth plan. – Use both short and long-range goals but never give the impression that personal growth is just temporary.
  3. See personal growth as a lifestyle. – Personal development should be more about “who you are” than “what you do!”

I would like to see us live in a world where discussing quiet time, prayer, Bible study, and scripture memory are the norms. I don’t want them to be considered an “acceptable practice” as much as they are a part of our DNA.

I am not accusing the Church or all believers as being stuck in the Christian Event Culture. However, any percentage caught in that vortex is too high, so I challenge you to join me in being counter-cultural in the truest sense.

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8 Comments

  1. We’ve been part of a church that runs this risk for a few years now. The performance is excellent…some of the most culturally engaging services I’ve seen. Our musicians are incredible. The teaching from the podium is very Bible centered, without compromise, and delivered with passionate engagement.

    With that said, there is almost no structured discipleship and very little expectation of deep spiritual growth beyond life groups that stay pretty surface-level in most cases. I still haven’t figured out, as a member of the congregation, how to begin creating a microcosm that hungers for intentional growth. The idea of “expectations” isn’t met with much favor, and, frankly, theological discussions or a focus on disciplines simply doesn’t rise to the level of entertainment that most are drawn by. Our goal is to start a small study group that keys in on the role of discipleship in spiritual formation. I would appreciate any thoughts that readers might have.

    • Denny, unfortunately, you are experiencing what many others are facing. The good news is you have a great foundation in your church of solid Bible-centered teaching. There are only two ways for something like this to change and they both have to do with one-on-one discipleship. It can happen from the “top down,” in that the leadership creates a structure for this and it becomes the paradigm. The other way is from the “bottom up,” where one person begins the discipleship process and then gets the 2 Tim 2:2 process going. I have seen entire churches changed this way because youth groups were involved in discipleship and the fire and energy created was contagious.

      Thank you for your heartbeat and passion. Mike

  2. Very well said, Mike. Unfortunately, Christian Churches and Christians themselves, are following the culture. Performance dominates the Church today and believers look to be entertained, no different than the secular society. Personal spiritual growth and holy living are not the priorities for most Christ followers.

    • Rick, Thank you for writing. When churches are committed to one-on-one discipleship and strong Biblical teaching, their influence is extrapolated. What a great opportunity we have to make a difference in lives.

  3. One of the qualities I’ve observed among the most godly men I know is their habit of discussing with others what the Lord is showing them through His Word. There’s too little of that going on in the body of Christ. I thank God for men who’ve demonstrated this habit for me. That’s the kind of man I want to become! Like you said, Mike, I’d like to make it part of my DNA.

    • David, one of the greatest gifts we can give each other is to share what God is doing in our lives through our daily time in His Word. Sharing from the overflow of our lives becomes contagious and infectious. It is like building a fire on a cold night, people are naturally attracted to it. Mike

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