Postmodernism

Tips for Enlisting Additional Co-leaders

We hear you. You have tried everything! You have prayed faithfully! Yet, again, you are in the midst of the year with too few co-leaders for children’s missions organizations.

In today’s postmodern culture, the quest for adequate leaders is more challenging than ever. It seems every moment of every day of church members’ lives are already filled with responsibilities for family, career, and church.

These 5 “Be” tips will help you develop an effective enlistment strategy.

Be always vocally positive about serving in missions education.

  • Tell stories of what kids are achieving in missions.
  • Emphasize the joy of serving, not the challenges.

Be on the co-leader lookout. Identify people who . . .

  • Assist with events for kids at church or missions events.
  • Have abilities that complement current leaders’ skills or fill a need.

Begin to plant seeds for co-leadership. Ask those identified to . . .

Adults: Prepare to Do Postmodern Missions

We live in a postmodern world. You probably already knew that, but you might be wondering what it has to do with missions.

Postmodernists don’t believe in absolute truths. They believe everything is relative and shaped by the cultural context of a particular time and place. So when you share the gospel with postmodernists, you may get rebuffed, because what is the truth for you is not truth for them.

Don’t give up. Adapt.

First, let go of assumptions you may have about postmodernists:

  • They have a felt need for God. (Many don’t think about Him.)
  • They fear death. (They don’t believe in an afterlife.)
  • They are hopeless. (Most are quite satisfied with life.)
  • They will come to Christ fast once you introduce them to Him. (Most need the environment of a relationship with a Christian to progress toward a relationship with Christ. You must be willing to make a lifetime investment in people.)

Then, remember what Christians are called to do: make disciples. A disciple is a learner, and discipleship is a process of becoming more like Christ. Discipleship has at least four interpenetrating dimensions:

Prepare Students for a Postmodern Culture

As you work with students, you are inevitably facing attitudes and actions from them that are being formed through culture—the shows they watch, the music they listen to, and the people they follow on social media. So how do you equip students to live with a Christian worldview and be the light of Christ in their post-Christian/postmodern lives?

We’ve all heard the popular Christian phrase reminding us that we are to “be in the world, not of the world.” This phrase comes from Jesus’ prayer in John 17, where the night before His crucifixion, He prays for His disciples, sending them out to make disciples and asking God to protect them from the evil one because they “are not of the world.” This is a perfect framework for teaching students to live sent for Christ, helping them see how they can be a part of culture without owning the culture. Here are a few tips to guide you:

TEACHING CHILDREN TO SHARE JESUS IN A POSTMODERN WORLD

“Then the 11 disciples went to Galilee. They went to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.  When they saw him, they worshiped him. But some still had their doubts. Then Jesus came to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end’” (Matthew 28:16–20).

The Great Commission. As Christians, this is what we are commanded to do—share the truth of God with the world. But this is not always easy to do in today’s postmodern society, especially for children.

From the friends they interact with at school to the messages constantly bombarding them through various modes of entertainment (TV, movies, radio, social media), children are extremely vulnerable to the postmodern belief that “anything goes.” After all, today’s children are postmoderns living in a post-Christian world. This is all they have ever known.

Reversing a Trend

Millennials are leaving the church. Nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) young people who grow up in Christian churches end up walking away, and the unchurched segment among Millennials has increased in the last decade from 44 percent to 52 percent, mirroring a larger cultural trend away from churchgoing in America.

This was the headline of an article published by the Barna Group on its website on April 6, 2016.1 The article lists several reasons why Millennials, those in their 20s and early 30s today, are leaving church. Among those listed were things that took them away from church when they were youth: sports leagues, extracurricular activities through school, and a lack of significant church relationships. Gone are the days when a young person found social interaction primarily at church through weekend youth retreats, game nights, and Bible study on Sunday morning. The occasional attender in their youth who did not develop a growing faith will find it hard to connect once they leave for college.

Prepare Preschoolers for a Postmodern Culture

Our preschool group looked at a photo of the missionary family we studied that month in Mission Friends. We had been learning about this missionary family for a few weeks. I had just finished telling our mission story for the week of how the missionaries tell others about Jesus. One of the 3-year-olds leaned in to look at the picture and asked, “Are they real?” At first, it struck me as an odd question. Of course, they are real. As I thought about it, I realized that this question is indicative of the current times in which photos are altered and what seems to be real may not be the truth.

Searching for reality and truth is part of the postmodern world of which our preschoolers are a part. Preschoolers are growing up with a postmodern worldview that people can determine their own truth. Growing up as postmodernists, preschoolers will also have a much more global worldview than previous generations.

Go and Tell: Teaching Children to Share Jesus in a Postmodern World

scripture verse

“Then the 11 disciples went to Galilee. They went to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.  When they saw him, they worshiped him. But some still had their doubts. Then Jesus came to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end’” (Matthew 28:16–20).

The Great Commission. As Christians, this is what we are commanded to do—share the truth of God with the world. But this is not always easy to do in today’s postmodern society, especially for children.

From the friends they interact with at school to the messages constantly bombarding them through various modes of entertainment (TV, movies, radio, social media), children are extremely vulnerable to the postmodern belief that “anything goes.” After all, today’s children are postmoderns living in a post-Christian world. This is all they have ever known.

Children's projects for a postmodern world

Construction paper ready for projects

As our society believes more and more that any belief is acceptable, children need plenty of practice sharing truth and what they are learning about the one true God. As children's missions leaders, you and I have the awesome opportunity and responsibility to empower children to speak out about Scripture. 

Try these ideas with your children’s missions group to give them opportunities to share truth with others in your community:

Postmodernism: Everything is Different

“Daddy, things are different today from when you were little.” If I’ve heard that once, I’ve heard it a thousand times from my eight-year-old son Evan.

Of course, he’s right. Things are different.

When I was younger, if someone wanted to get in touch with me, they either had to come to my house or they had to call my house. After all, that’s where the telephone was located— hardwired into the wall! Nowadays, with cell phones, we are accessible just about everywhere we go.

Cars are smaller today. Planes go faster. The world really doesn’t feel nearly as big today as it did when I was younger.

Evan is right, “Things are different today.”

But, does being different make the things of today better than the things of yesterday? Not necessarily. They are just different.

Over the last 50 years or so, there has been a remarkable transformation in how children see their world and their parents—and in how parents see their children and understand how they should be raised. There’s no debating it: families are different today. Or, as many would claim, we are living in a postmodern world.

Postmodernism?

What is postmordernism?

How much thought have you given to postmodernism? Maybe you’ve heard the term, but you’re not sure exactly what it means. Or maybe a pastor or someone in your church has talked about it, and you have only a vague idea about what it entails.

So what is postmodernism? Well, it depends. No, really, that’s the heart of it: it always seems to come down to someone saying, “Well, it depends.”

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