Crossroad Community has put together a summary of the problems with post-World War II churches trying to do outreach with 1950’s methods in today’s culture. There has been such a dramatic cultural shift in the United States that the culture no longer assumes or respects a Christian worldview. And also, the things that the current generation values are significantly different than the values produced by a corporate business model that was characteristic of the 1950’s and 60’s.
This table below is a summary of the different values and shows the need to adjust our methodology of outreach and evangelism in order to reach the current generation. Those churches that rely upon the old models will be frustrated if not left behind. The methodology that worked in the 1940’s and 50’s will never work today.
Old Church Model
New Church Model
Biblical Instruction (Faith)
Caring Ministry (Family)
Transformation (evangelism, spiritual formation)
Old Cultural Setting
New Cultural Setting
External culture (society) supported Christian principles.
“Build it and they will come.”
Church affiliation was socially acceptable.
Denominational driven; hierarchical.
Centralized forms of governance.
External culture (society) is anti-Christian and apostasy; apathetic, censure and persecution.
“Why should I go?” It’s not necessary to go.
It is socially acceptable NOT to be affiliated with a church. Generally, people are frustrated by religion or “religious” semantics.
No longer relevant to individual/communal needs.
Post-denominational era. A call for decentralized forms of governance.
Rising household income.
Mass production & labor intensive.
Collective sense of peace, security and prosperity.
Rising unemployment, layoffs and debts.
Consumer driven economy; increased imports.
Government takeover and seizures.
Collective sense of physical & emotional unhealthy, insecurity and poverty.
Modern Worldview (Christendom)
Science & Reason
Logic & Rational
Absolute truth exists; must be obeyed.
Follow a prescribed manner or pattern; there is only one “absolute” manner/way it can be achieve; A high value placed on rules and these prescribed manners; defiance from the norm is socially prohibited.
Relativism; truth is based on the individual.
High value placed on community / relationships.
Materialistic & Individual freedom with no boundaries or personal responsibility.
Reality is based on experience; experimental demonstration.
Transistor radios & commercial televisions were introduced in 1939.
Primary focus must be placed on discipleship. Must be decentralized & address a increasing level of biblical and spiritual immaturity; a generation unfamiliar and/or inexperienced with worship or biblical standards.
Must serve in an environment of persecution and government intervention/oppression to Christian faith.
Sunday-School is model for education.
Congregations establish programs.
Cell groups (a home-church mindset) Each cell group will focus on all 5-core values.
Entry Point to the Gospel
The unchurched or non-believers were invited to church and children invited to Sunday school class (catechism).
The unchurched or non-believers were invited to various programs to entice participation.
Entry Point to the Gospel
The cell group.
Visitors to worship will no longer encouraged to become members immediately; instead, they are encouraged to become an active participant in a cell group.