The truth about the Truth: part three

17 07 2007

Here is the final part of of my talk on the crisis facing the church around Bible Engagement. This final part addresses how we can begin to overcome this crisis…

(For the first part of my presentation click here)

The church is facing a crisis as it moves away from the Bible. But here’s what I think we need to do. The first thing is, if you are not, you have to do everything that it takes to fall in love with the Bible. Fall in love with it. Rediscover your passion and love for the Bible.

How I did this is I just woke up one day, looked at myself in the mirror and said “I’m not living a life of integrity. I am telling people that they should read this book but I’m not reading it myself.” I wanted to smash the hypocrisy. It’s always hard, but I just sat down and opened it and started reading it, reading it and reading it and still do. Opening myself up to it. Slowly but surely, I fell in love with the Bible again. We have to fall in love, number 1. If you are not in love with this, you need to fall in love.

The second thing we need to do in the face of this crisis is we need to take a stand. Each of you need to take a stand. As a church we need to take a stand. First thing is you have to fall in love with it. Then you need to get up in your pulpits and you need to be aware that as you stare around the congregation, that most of them, I don’t care what church, no excuses here, for me most of them do not take the Word seriously. You need to take a stand. We are at a point in history where if we don’t stand up and be counted on this, it will come back on us. We’ll be remembered as the people who did nothing in the face of this very serious crisis that befalls us.

The third thing is, we need to be prepared to engage our generation. I’m not just talking young people. Children, old people, not-so-old people: our generation. It requires of us that we move away from the modern maxim, ‘Though what I’m offering may be boring and unpalatable, it is ultimately good for you.’ If we can’t let go of that, then we just won’t cut it. We have got to engage. Walk into their territory. One such example is Web 2.0.

You know about the internet. I assume you know Web 1.0. It was more about like television and newspapers – users have little input into the contents. You went to a website, you were given information with perhaps an image attached, and that was it. It was a big corporation giving you stuff just like newspaper and TV. Over the last four years, a major shift has occurred on the internet. Users are now actively participating and producing content. Many of the most successful websites like Youtube, are 100% user driven. Now why is this relevant to us. Well, in my research I discovered the Centre for Church and Communication in America – major research house – they noted that a vast majority of 12 to 40+ year olds are expecting participation – all that Web 2.0 is – they expect a voice. This is what one commentator writes about his expectations. “For me the main criterion of a good website is that it invites me to engage in a conversation. I don’t want to be talked down to, told what to do. It doesn’t work for me any more. It is that cultural conversation that makes all the difference.”

Now why is this important to us? Eighty percent of 12-40 year olds record that that’s what they expect of a website. They expect a voice to participate, and what’s the percentage of Christian websites that are providing that? According to the Centre for Christian Communication – 10%. It’s like ships passing in the night. Here’s the answer. How do we want to communicate to this generation? – Web 2.0. Are we doing it? No. Again I’m not pontificating. Six months ago, I had no idea about this stuff either!

Let me finish by stating that there are opportunities. It is possible to engage with this generation but by in large we are doing this rather poorly. We think we are but we are not. I want to finish by stating that I have fallen in love with the Holy Scriptures again and I have committed myself to engaging in a journey of transformation. It’s not about perfection, it’s about transformation and I invite you to join me on this journey.

Mark Brown

 

 

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One response

3 08 2007
Roger Yarhouse

Greetings Mark;
You mentioned “Taking a stand” as part of the solution to the crisis of not engaging the Scriptures. How about Church Leaders expanding that by not only talking about how important it is to put ourselves in a place where the Bible can change our life but also providing (or pointing to) opportunities for that to take place? For those who are like me, left to my own devices, study of Scripture is casual. It’s only when I’m involved in a comprehensive study such as Community Bible Study Intl., Bible Study Fellowship, Precepts where I will go deeper.
I look forward to talking about this in person (hopefully) in October
Roger

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