“There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.”
― Michel de Montaigne
Pastors and leaders who lose their curiosity about life and the pursuit of knowledge will quickly lose connection and relevance with their congregation. The culture–and the church–are rapidly changing around us. We are witnessing cultural change at a faster pace than perhaps at any time in history.
Thom Ranier notes, “American culture has shifted dramatically in a relatively short period. The United States is becoming more like an international mission field. As a result, ministry training, whether formal or informal, should reflect this reality. Missionaries are typically required to receive intensive cultural and language training before they go overseas. Frankly, a similar need exists today for those in American congregations, or those planning to go to these churches.”
Ranier offers 10 areas where he believes pastors need to focus their training and learning attention in order to stay relevant for the 21st Century American Mission field:
- Become a skilled communicator using social media.
- Become fluent relating to and speaking with citizens of a non-Christian culture.
- Plan for a steady decline of “cultural Christians” in churches, which may point to smaller churches in general.
- Learn to manage ministry and family responsibilities in a world that is connected 24/7.
- Unregenerate church members.
- The community as a mission field.
- Less automatic cultural respect of church leaders.
- A more critical world.
- A greater need for leadership skills.
- More churches in need of revitalization.