The Front Page

Welcome to the Front Page, the digital cover of the Wayne Press.  Here we will share with you things that can't be captured in our newsletter--videos, music, color photographs--as well as articles that reflect on faith and life.  


Twitter, Gotye and the Gospel

One of the things that excite me most is when I see the Gospel preached and taught in interesting and creative ways.  I got thinking about this because one of our awesome middle school Sunday School teachers had her class writing tweets to sum up the passages their group read.  Out of this we got this tweet, which helped tell the story in Acts 12 when Peter is freed from prison: “Tweet by @angel_of_heaven_xo   ‘Just freed Peter from prison.  Better get a pay raise.’ #mluvinit #bigmac”  Apparently this group had McDonalds, or the golden arches on their mind.  I thought this was such a fun way to teach Scripture using youth culture.    

Reading these tweets got me thinking of another message I heard that really stood out to me as a great example of contextualizing the Gospel.  This was several years ago, when the song “Just Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye came out, I was at Montreat Youth Conference with a bunch of youth from our church.  Montreat has a great legacy of picking speakers who know how to preach the Gospel in the context of youth culture.  On this particular evening, the lesson was on the parable of the Prodigal Son, a story that almost every Christian has heard countless times.  But on this night, we all understood this passage in ways we hadn’t before.  Watch this youtube clip to see it for yourself.

If you know anything about 1st century Jewish culture, you know that Jesus was a master at presenting his message in a way that both attracts and engages his listeners.  He used stories with familiar elements to everyone in first century Palestine: farming, fishing, growing, shepherding, etc.  Jesus found a way to make God’s word make sense in their own context.

Jesus by no means did anything new though.  For the thousands of years that God was at work with the Israelites, and their patriarchs, God consistently contextualized Godself in order that these humans could know God.  God used human constructs like the sacrificial system, the temple, kings, etc. to teach his people specific things about Godself and the world in general.  Then, in the ultimate act of contextualization, God physically entered our human context by becoming one of us, so that we might better understand God.

As tempting as it is to try to fit people into our own contexts when we present them the Gospel, it is most effective and rewarding when they hear the Good News in their own “language.”   I know that can seem like a scary and daunting task.  One can wonder how anyone could speak from a context other than their own.  I have seen though, that the more you get to know God, and the life of another person, God begins to open your eyes to where these two things meet.  So, whether you are a Sunday School teacher, motivational speaker, or just the friend of someone who needs to hear God’s good news, dig into their lives to see how God is making a way for your message through their culture.

Posted by Andrew Hostetter at 12:00 PM
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