People with traditional values have known for some time that popular culture has been shifting steadily away from biblical morality. Even before shows such as Glee, programming which does nothing to promote moral values has been rampant. Instead of focusing on the problem, many conservatives have thrown up their hands, given up, then wondered why the downward spiral towards depravity increases. For our culture to revive we must begin the process of reviving it, through mentoring, and living our faith. The best place to start is with the Church.
Like many of our problems, the answers are found by reclaiming our past and adapting it for our future. Some churches have realized that the best way to bring people back to God and traditional values is to attract the young, and they’re right. The current culture in some churches is thriving, Christian music, specifically rock, is giving the youth lyrics that are more uplifting and musical quality that is comparable with contemporary popular music. New comedians are performing with material fit for pastors which is becoming very popular. At a large mega-church like one I attend, youth programs resemble a community activity center with children going to service and then playing foosball, pool, basketball, and socializing with others who share the same values. The church should strive to make the church the center of the community in order to shape and guide the next generation. The youth ministry also draws in parents who are interested in stronger family values. Churches are becoming the epicenter of a cultural revolution and with more participation it can become even more effective.
In a recent post, in Lifeway, Thom Rainer mentions several trends regarding mega-churches.
1. More than fifty percent of church attendees attend the largest ten percent of churches.
2. The growth of the number of large churches has increased to sixteen hundred today.
3. There is an increased interest in the long-term sustainability of mega-churches.
4. The average age of pastors of mega-churches is declining, giving the organizations more youthful approaches.
5. Mega-churches are developing into more campus-like environments with multiple small venues
6. Mega-churches are also increasingly focused on small groups for in-depth teaching, ministry, fellowship and assimilation.
7. Mega-churches are also more focused on the source of the growth they’re experiencing.
All of these factors make it fertile ground for the changes necessary for traditional values and culture to resurrect itself now and thrive in the future.
Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” As conservatives have traced the collapse of culture, the universities are frequently found to be at the source. College age kids are very impressionable, rebellious by nature, and of an age to make able foot soldiers. If we are to heal the rot, we must begin with the youth culture.
“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”
All of the cultural voids which have been filled by popular culture today were once embraced by the Church. Michaelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, R&B’s roots come from Gospel, and our political and economic philosophy is derived from theologians. Many churches still have healthy music programs and provide venues to teach and allow youth to perform. With mentoring projects, churches could expand this role, taking the media infrastructure used for filming sermons and offer production experiences for values based programming. Groups could be designed for young writers to find ways to develop literature that resonates throughout popular culture as well as traditional values audiences. In the Dark Ages, churches were the only facilities with the resources capable of preserving and protecting from the darkness of that time. Now, a new darkness grows, and it’s the church which must take the lead in pushing back once more.
Conservatives have been waging the “culture war” in the wrong place. Instead of being a free and responsible people, conservatives have fallen into the progressive’s trap of abdicating more and more power to government. Conservatives have tried boycotts, isolating themselves from popular culture, or just resigning themselves to a more morally depraved culture. We’ve given up on the concept of culture being important and seen generation after generation embrace moral pluralism. Churches and charities can reach communities through youth outreach projects, creativity groups, and form a new generation of individuals with moral foundation to usher in a new values based culture.