Thursday, September 09, 2004

Missional Church and Culture-Religious Calendar

Over the past two or so years, I have become intrigued with the idea of a religious/liturgical calendar for a Church year. For many out there, that may seem like an obvious thing to say. However, I have grown up in a Pentecostal tradition that has never really spent time emphasizing the religious “holidays” during the year. The closest we have come is taking a couple of weeks to teach on Pentecost. In contrast to that, I have become interested in attempting to build the yearly rhythm of a church more around the holy days than the traditional, secular holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Someone once said, and I think there is a lot of truth in it, that most evangelicals know more about the “Hallmark” holidays than the holy days of their own faith.

I am especially interested in Children’s curriculum which would reflect some of the teaching sensibilities of a catechism and would revolve around a liturgical calendar, building into the kids a deeper sense of Easter, Pentecost and Christmas than the other holidays.

What does this have to do with a Missional Church model? I think it would provide one of the right kinds of distinguishing characteristics between the Church and the culture at large. It would help to create an atmosphere within the walls of the Church which would glorify God as it simultaneously breaks from pop culture. It would glorify God in that it would help to provide a rhythm to people’s live which would revolve around Him and our discipleship, and it would make an appropriate break from pop culture in that it would provide congregants with a viable and meaningful alternative to the world around them.

I am a believer in the idea that discipleship and sanctification takes a renewing of our minds in such a way that we no longer think and emote the way the world around us wants us too. The only way to begin developing that kind of radical habit is to change the patterns and cycles in our thought processes and day-to-day lives. Augustine once remarked that we are people shaped by our habits, so we should faithfully and rightfully shape those habits. C.S. Lewis, in a similar remark, noted that it sometimes takes deliberate training to build the right patterns and motivations into our lives. The Church should be not only a help in that direction, but a catalyst for it.

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