Pastor Stephen P. Sammons,
Lake Murray EV Free Church:
I see three essential things. First, there must be an authenticity in the way we live and do business. It seems that too often, under the guise of saving God’s money, we expect handouts or deals. What we really reveal is our lack of faith. It is we who should pay on time, pay what is required, and be able to tip the best. We are the ones with unlimited resources for what God has called us to do. It is we who should be most generous.
Second, we must have a willingness to meet people where they are. In His meeting with the woman at the well, Jesus didn’t make her previous marriages a barrier to investing in her. Too often, it seems like we only want to catch “cleaned fish.”
Third, we need to make sure the only barrier is the cross. Too often it seems that we get our cultural and political preferences mixed up with our sharing of the Gospel.
Dr, Dan Grider, Pastor,
Daybreak Community Church, Carlsbad:
The culture will take seriously churches that prove they are willing to “show” their faith, not just “share” their faith. This gives Christians the opportunity to rub shoulders with the community. It also allows them to build bridges to a secular, lost culture.
It appears that most people in San Diego don’t think of the church as a change agent. It’s seems that in most cases we are being ignored by our current secular culture. This pragmatic culture doesn’t seem interested in what we have to say. This culture seems to only take serious those who prove their value and worth. The first step for the church is to take strides to become culturally relevant. This does not mean that the church needs to compromise scripture or its biblical mandate. It simply means that we need to understand whom we are trying to reach, and how to address the issues that concern them. Jesus called us to be fishers of men. The only way that you can catch fish is to understand the bait that fish eat. This culture has a high priority for community action, social justice and social change. The more involved a church is in a local community the more influence it will have in the region. These areas of concern are not in conflict with Biblical priorities for the church.
Since the wild fires in San Diego County, several churches have been involved in assisting with the cleanup, and financial contributions. The news media has gladly covered any effort that these local churches have made. It is nearly impossible to get any coverage for an event that is church centered. This is evidence of the high value that community involvement has in our culture and the media.