Is your church struggling with growth and dealing with societal changes? Being shrewd, astute and savvy isn’t ungodly. Some people consider it giving in to the world. It isn’t worldly but wise. Its being aware of your surroundings, the generation, the society and changes taking place, and adapting(not adopting) how we do Kingdom business. Jesus told his parents “I must be about my Father’s business”. He called it a business. I like that.
Our churches (particularly those with larger aging membership, and if your isn’t there yet, look 10 yrs ahead) harrow due partly to less ‘forward’ thinking, and are being dragged along in the wake of change instead of riding its crest. It isn’t worldly but wise to research your market base to learn how to reach them. What business owner that loses only 10% business and does nothing to learn how and why, but goes on casually, without noticing their business is declining? No good business owner would do that. They would study and survey whats going on and why. But what are we doing? And it’s not our business to let ruin. Its God’s! We are managers…franchise partners in it, if you will. (Matt. 25:14-30, 2 Cor. 5:18).
What missionary would go to a country to assimilate, evangelize to reach people for Christ but will not consider learning the culture they are entering? Would you financially support such an effort? I don’t think so. Although we are not in a foreign Earthly country, we are foreigners with Heaven our homeland, with this temporary country (The United States) ever-changing in culture. With a lackadaisical attitude about making a real difference, we wade through days of our lives. Soon years have passed, cultural changes have occurred and we find our churches on the backside behind the times instead of setting and leading culture change.
In the Shrewd Manager parable, Jesus praised him for his savvy but chided his own followers saying “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.” (Luke 16:8). The sent out disciples were told by Jesus to “be wise (shrewd) as serpents but harmless as doves.” Let us be wise, shrewd, cunning about our city, society and generation to be effective. We must wake up out of our daze, realizing the end of our time to affect people for Christ, before His return and their demise, is nearing.