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 The insider-outsider mentality making the church seem exclusive to those who are seen as not belonging.

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Presentation on theme: " The insider-outsider mentality making the church seem exclusive to those who are seen as not belonging."— Presentation transcript:


2  The insider-outsider mentality making the church seem exclusive to those who are seen as not belonging.

3  The accepting of all beliefs, even if the beliefs do not match.

4  Church ◦ Look for opportunities to split when conflict arises  Youth ◦ Looking for common ground between groups of people

5  Church ◦ Focus has been on the individual  Seeking personal responsibility on a set standard.  Youth ◦ Moral and Spiritual compass has shifted to their peers ◦ More willing to give away a service to their friends if they see it as fair

6  Church ◦ Set standards of right and wrong from the Bible.  Youth ◦ Tendency to judge whether an action was right or wrong by how fair, reasonable, or assessable the choice is.

7  Church ◦ Tends to have prerequisites before a person can belong  Statement of faith  Membership course  Youth ◦ Want to be included in activities and dislike feeling as outsiders. ◦ Tendency to want everyone to be included in what they are doing.

8 When we choose exclusion over tolerance, the church “circles the wagons” and becomes a fortified city under siege. Exclusion

9 Tolerance When the church chooses tolerance over exclusion, the church “chickens” out on sharing the good news of Christ's love.

10 Exclusion Tolerance

11  People can have a meaningful life without accepting Jesus as their Savior  Christians and Muslims worship the same God  The Bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths  It does not matter what religion you follow because they all teach the same lessons

12  The context!  Younger Generations are “doing theology” in an environment where not everyone within the community connects with the historic faith’s truth claims  Beginning to rethink (especially exiles) ◦ Evangelism ◦ Denominations ◦ The “other”

13  “Youth are taking cues from a culture that has made it unpopular to make bold statements about faith or be aggressively evangelistic.”  Youth believe that evangelism cannot exist without actions to go with it. ◦ Kinnaman worries that they will focus on deeds so much that the gospel will get lost in the process.

14  Duane Litfin ◦ Word vs. Deed ◦ Nowhere in scripture does it say that we are to use deeds alone  Always has some sort of verbal communication to go with it

15  Denominations are declining in importance when it comes to youth.  Kinnaman strongly shows his support for denominations, yet sees the trend that denominations stress the differences between them, while youth are wanting to find common ground.

16  Youth less likely to join a church or social club, they are staying in one spot for shorter amounts of time and communicate through social networks rather than institutions.  Less likely than their parents to attend on a regular basis, unless married and have kids. ◦ More likely to church shop or hop

17  Despite this, many churches are still approaching membership the way they did in the 60’s ◦ New people encouraged to take a class to learn the basic theology and history of the church  Expected to join the church at the end of the class ◦ Church Covenant  Basic beliefs and guidelines for Christian living

18  Basecamp ◦ Smaller communities where population is declining, church becomes a place for nourishment, basic supplies and encouragement ◦ Church focusing on those that stay and thus turning “basecamp” into a “permanent residence” ◦ Churches don’t have to change the message, but they do have to embrace the fact they may only get one shot at giving someone the gospel.

19  Dismembership ◦ Idea by House of Mercy in St Paul Minnesota  1996 founded with no real membership roster  Joined the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America), denomination required a membership roster.  “membership” does not fit with the church goal of keeping open doors, windows, and minds open to all  Gives pastor different way of talking about membership.

20  Lifeway study found about half of American churches claim to be nondemoniational  2 of the 3 largest churches are nondenominational ◦ Willow Creek (South Barrington, IL) ◦ Lakewood Church (Houston, TX)

21 Exclusion Tolerance Both sides are a loss for the church.

22  Christ did not exclude those who rejected Him nor does he tolerate our sins. Exclusion Tolerance

23  Instead we need to embrace the “other” ◦ Scripture ◦ Practice ◦ Empathy

24  Volf’s “Drama of Embrace” ◦ Act 1 “opening arms”  Shows a code of desire for someone else  Allows for the other person to be excluded at the cost of losing the self  Signal to others that we have created space for them  We must not be self indulgent otherwise we lose the genuineness of the action  An invitation for the other person

25  Volf’s “Drama of Embrace” ◦ Act 2 “waiting”  Must be done patiently and not forced  The other may not be at a stage in which to accept  “If the Embrace takes place, it will always be because the has desired to embrace the one giving the invitation.

26  Volf’s “Drama of Embrace” ◦ Act 3 “closing the arms”  The ultimate goal of the embrace  Properly carried out when there are no strings attached to either side  Do Not Squeeze  It then becomes an act of control and then exclusion

27  Volf’s “Drama of Embrace” ◦ Act 4 “releasing the arms”  Releasing each other and returning to your personal identity  Brings us back to the beginning, ready for the next embrace which may occur moments or years later


29  Scriptures that deal with the “other.” ◦ The Wedding Banquet  Luke 14:15-24 ◦ The Lost Sheep  Luke 15:1-7 ◦ The Prodigal’s Son  Luke 15:11-32

30  Three questions to evaluate the importance of word vs deed ◦ 1) What are the needs of this person?  Emotional  Physical  Intellectual  Spiritual  Social

31  Three questions to evaluate the importance of word vs deed ◦ 2) What are the person’s “most important” needs?  Spiritual always at the top!!  Yet always linked with one of the other 4

32  Three questions to evaluate the importance of word vs deed ◦ 3) What are the person’s “most urgent” needs?  Spiritual still at the top  Others will reorder themselves as to how we can best serve them.

33  Missions ◦ Interdenominational information sharing  Example  Pastor has a “revolutionary” idea to connect local congregations to those overseas for the purpose of local missions  Would do well to learn from the Wesleyan Church who have been doing this very well for a long time

34  “Empathy is the ability to see a situation, an emotion, an action through Christ’s eyes and through the other person’s heart. When I have empathy, I begin to understand the love Christ has for the hurting and see the situation from their point of view. It is a way of humbling yourself and putting other’s needs and emotions before your own.”

35  Television ◦ We make time each week to join in with our favorite characters as we watch their lives unfold through flashback, flash forward or sideways. ◦ We become attuned to these characters and they may change our views on the people they represent. ◦ However these feelings may not translate to real life.

36  Missions ◦ Sevice projects to give direct contact with the “other”  Small Groups ◦ Allows for students to form empathy for each other through conversations in a positive peer culture

37  The next generation is opening its arms inviting the church to rethink different aspects of church.  After embracing youth and their ideas we may find the need to change what we are doing in order to better reach the next generation for Jesus

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