We have been led to believe, my most of the church, that the loss of cultural relevance of the church is a bad thing…that the shift from Christendom of modernism to to the church on the periphery of post-modernism is a bad thing. And, I can see why. The loss of political and cultural pull can be tough…particularly since we held onto it for so long.
But, perhaps this can be a good thing for us. Perhaps it opens up new opportunities and mission fields.
That’s what Daniel Im says in a post called, “Seismic Shifts and a Missional Response:”
Instead of pouting or longing for the good ol’ days, what if we saw this [shift to the periphery] as a positive one? What if we understood that there are increased missional opportunities now that the Church is on the periphery? The fact that there are some who don’t have a negative predisposition to Jesus or Christianity is actually a good thing.
Today in Quebec, where Christianity moved to the periphery decades ago, we are beginning to see the long-term effects that this shift has on a culture. The younger generation does not remember a time when the Church was at the center. As a result, they do not start with a negative bias against Christianity!
Instead, they are seeing Christianity on the same level playing field as Islam, Buddhism, or New Age. This has provided the Church in Quebec with a unique opportunity to start afresh and enter the city as missionaries. And based on recent stories we’ve been hearing from Montreal and other areas in Quebec, we are excited and hopeful for the future where the Church is on the periphery.
I don’t think this is just a matter of “making lemons out of lemonade.” I think this is recognizing that our loss of cultural influence allows us to start all over with those who have grown up without the weight of the church in the world.