Churches reconsidering Gospel and Culture – NYMC Podcast #2

Here is the second of two PodCast episodes developed in conjunction with the National Youth Ministry Convention (NYMC) that dives deeper into Fuller Youth Institute’s latest research on Churches that are Growing Young(er) rather than older.  In this PodCast, we explore how churches that reconsider their approach to gospel and culture allows them to engage with a younger generation and helps their faith to grow.  But how to do this, and not lose the heart and soul of Christian faith is the trick.


I’m going to say something from the outset that you may not agree with.  It goes like this:

There is no such thing as a pure’Gospel’

(if by “pure” you mean some kind of rarified and objective Gospel that just drops out of heaven and is received in an unaltered state).

The Gospel, even the gospel on the lips and life of Jesus when he walked this earth 2000 years ago, comes wrapped in culture.  Yes, Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection atones for our sins and is the lynchpin of God’s redemptive plan for the world.  But first and foremost, the words and life of Jesus wrapped the Gospel in first-century Jewish culture.  Before it was good news for you and me, it was good news for them.  Or to put it another way, before it can be good news for you and me, we must, interpret, translate and enculturate the Gospel.

Implication? If you are going to be Gospel-focused, you MUST become self-aware of your culture as well, or else you run the risk of presenting culture and calling it Gospel.

In this second NYMC podcast episode, I chat with Brenton and Jimmy about Fuller Youth Institute’s research into churches that grow young and, in particular, their findings concerning the way churches that grow young relate themselves to culture and seek to encourage young people to walk in the way of Jesus.

The summary?  In a nutshell,  they found no trace of churches watering down the gospel or shying away from its implications.  Yet neither did they find that churches were simply rehearsing the gospel ‘strategies’ of the 60s, 70s and 80s in louder, faster and stronger ways.

Rather, they found that churches significantly adjusted their relationship to culture, and reframed their sense of the Gospel.

How did they adjust their relationship to culture?  In what sense did they reframe the Gospel … well, you better have a listen …


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