Sink or Swim in the New Millennium Culture
Soultsunami: Sink or Swim in New Millennium Culture is a whoppin’ big book (450 pages) by Leonard Sweet. It explores the cultural changes that present new opportunities for the Church in a postmodern world. If the Church doesn’t adapt, it will become irrelevant. It’s sink or swim time.
What is a soul tsunami? Leonard Sweet explains it this way:
A spiritual tsunami has hit postmodern culture. This wave will build without breaking for decades to come. The wave is this: People want to know God. They want less to know about God or know about religion than to know God. (Leonard Sweet, Soul Tsunami).
The book was loaded with brilliant insights and ideas for Christians to grapple with in terms of what is important to millennials and how that effects evangelism, the shape of our message, and even what our church services could look like to meet the evolving needs of new generations.
Postmodern evangelism is recognizing that God is already at work in people’s lives before we arrived on the scene, and that our role is helping people to see how God is present and active in their lives, calling them home. (Leonard Sweet, Soul Tsunami).
People are leaving the church in droves because it doesn’t meet their need to experience God.
Postmoderns want something more than new products; they want new experiences, especially new experiences of the divine. (Leonard Sweet, Soul Tsunami).
Old models don’t work, but churches have been slow to adapt to the changing demands.
Postmoderns don’t want to be preached at; they want to be given a mission. (Leonard Sweet, Soul Tsunami).
I felt the chapters of Soul Tsunami were heavy laden with cultural facts and observations, which grew wearisome to read. I would have liked to have seen fewer facts and more scriptural rationale for changing the status quo. Still, Church leaders would do well to read this book and explore ways to do church differently.
I, for one, am tired of the Church being a social club that does the exact same things, the exact same ways forever.
The church is bursting at the seams with rationality, decency, order, dignity, and predictability. What it needs is the holy intoxications of foolishness, humor, craziness, outrageousness, creative disorder, and passion. (Leonard Sweet, Soul Tsunami).
And these changing times—this New Reformation Era—call for creativity. The message, of course, will remain the same, but the delivery and methods will need to morph to ride the wave of change.
The postmodern renaissance will be led by artists who love God. Is your church celebrating the artisans in its midst? (Leonard Sweet, Soul Tsunami).