When I witness things like parents literally camping out on the streets of Manhattan for five days, I'm always left shaking my head in disbelief. Would anyone ever do this same sort of thing in order that their child grow deeper in their faith? Would the spiritual growth of a child ever cause a parent to do such crazy things?
Why would a parent wait for days in the cold sleeping on the sidewalk to gloriously jam to lyrics with their children such as,
Oh tell me tell
me tell me how to turn your love on
You can get, get
anything that you want
Baby just shout
it out, shout it out
Baby just shout
it out, yeah
If you don't
wanna take it slow
And you just
wanna take me home
Baby say yeah a
yeah a yeah... (One Direction "Kiss You")
I admit it, I don't get it. I don't get the phenomena of going to such grueling lengths to subject my girls to lyrics such as these.
While I'm being transparent, it makes me sad that no matter how great the environment is that I create, the fun games I offer, the top notch programming, I will never compete with the frenzy that is created by pop culture.
Being competitive in ministry, and, believing that I must offer excellence in all that I do, I'm left feeling like I've come up short. Why will nothing I ever do create this sort of hoopla? What is it that drives even Christian parents to joyously sacrifice many things in order that their kids may have a front and center seat for things that are popular?
My questions have an answer. The answer is found in John 3:19 "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. " People are, drawn to the darkness. It's pretty simple, as long as I pastor here in this world, I will be ministering to families who are front and center for the "One Direction" (or other cultural phenomena) concerts offered.
In order to minister to families where they are I need to remember three things.
1) I am advocate for families. That means that I will educate myself on current events and trends. I will educate and resource parents as well. I will give them tools to help them screen movies, tv, games, and music before they decide what is appropriate for the kids in their homes.
2) I am creating a safe place where it's ok to be different. No one likes to be different. If my ministry is a place where people are "different" I've done my job. There's safety in numbers and I want families in my ministry to feel this strongly from the moment they become a part. As a group of Christians, we are different and our ministry celebrates this. I want to provide the safety of an environment that encourages living differently.
3) I will constantly remind others of the "light that has come into the world." The Holy Spirit is the teacher. I am not. If I provide an environment where families are able to experience truth growth in their walks with The Lord the Light will cause them to become different. I will proclaim the light. I will excitedly teach, proclaim, and talk about the Holy Spirit's call in our lives to live lives of holiness. I will challenge others to go deeper in their faith journeys.
How about you? Do you ever feel that your ministry is in competition against a pop culture crazy world? What do you do to make sure you're culturally relevant and, yet teaching families to live authentic, Jesus-like lives?