Our church family just wrapped up a series called “Culture Making.” We were challenged in many ways as a church, in regards to how we think, act, and live our lives. As Christians, God has called us to live higher and above reproach. Not in an arrogant sense or because we think our belief system is the best, but in a way that will draw people to Jesus as they encounter Him through our personal lives and church. We have a high responsibility here.
Unfortunately, Christianity, at times, has left a sour taste in the mouths of non-believers. In some ways, we have held a bad reputation because we war against the world with our strong belief system and in turn, scare people away and make them feel as though our religion is less desirable. But in this series, we are challenged against that. I believe we can draw people to Christ by creating healthier cultures in and around us. As talked about in this series, this can be accomplished in us as individuals, but also in our churches and inside the walls of our home and with our family.
Creating culture as Christians can be seen as an opportunity to be set apart as believers and bring people into the kingdom of God. As Austin said, we were made to create. The focus is making sure that what we are creating points people to Jesus, and not the opposite. We live in a sinful, broken world. But that should not scare us; rather it should give us a greater passion and desire to make cultures that attract people into the family of God. As Dave said during week one, let’s create an alternative culture.
I love the seven values of Vista that Dave mentioned:
- Prayerful: "We pray because all we do flows from all God has done, is doing and will do."
- Hospitable: "All creation is an expression of the radical hospitality of God."
- Relational: "Everything we do is a means to create a loving relationship with God, and with others."
- Generous: "God is infinitely generous, and so we are too. With our time, our talents and our money."
- Authentic: "Jesus loves the real you, not the fake you."
- Excellent: "God gives us His best, so we give God our best."
- Simple: "We don’t want to overly complicate things. We want our banner issue to be Jesus."
I think that the most practical thing we can do is take a step back and consider how we can live out these principles with more conviction in our church, small groups, work places, and especially within our families. The values Dave talked about are values for us personally–we know this because they are values of the church and we essentially are the church. It is good to be reminded that we need to be the church outside the four walls of the building. With that being said, are we being relational, generous, hospitable and authentic in our workplaces? It is worth contemplating.
I believe that one of the best aspects of these values is that we do not need to over-spiritualize these qualities in order to reach people. We can cultivate these values in our culture around us in non-religious ways, without Jesus shirts on, but still eventually use them as conduits to reach the lost. Austin said be where your feet are. Where you are right now, is where God has placed you. Take these values and these words we’ve been given over the past several weeks, and implement them into your life and the world around you.
Let's "be the culture we hope to create."