Beyond Culture and Into Christ

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:-2 Corinthians 4:3

2 Corinthians 4:1-5

1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

———–

I have been fairly vocal about my opinion of the uniform style of dress my church chooses to wear. To me it is a blessing that I would struggle to rid myself of if the time came that we didn’t have one. I know I’m largely supported in that thought by brainwashed little old woman that in some respects can’t think outside of the teachings that they have received over the past 45+ years that this uniform is the only modest option and it is down right salvational! Please,please,please do not lump me into THAT category. I do in fact value a homemade dress in a uniform fashion that is consistent from day to day. It doesn’t have to be complete with flapping capes and be ankle length. In fact I have two sisters in Christ that I’m incredibly impressed by their beautiful modesty. One is Dunkard Brethren she wears a Mennonite style cape dress or very modest skirts and shirts and another IS Mennonite but wears a simple modest dress that comes mid calf. Both women are beautiful examples of diversity in modest dress. The simple reason is that their hearts have been converted. They aren’t just going through the motions of being modest for church requirement. They themselves are modest beyond their clothing choices and have made the decision to lay off the old man and literally become a new creature.

So although I do 100% support modesty I don’t feel like it must fit into the box of brand of church fellowship. In fact I think it’s a bit odd to have different sororities within the bride of Christ. I think perhaps it should have some more fluidity between like minded fellowship than it does. I get weary of the divisions in church fellowships and the questioning of ones salvation inside of the kingdom fellowships. Should we know what brand of church by the style of covering? I don’t know but I’ve got an opinion.

All that aside I do have a concern relating the uniform. I’ll only speak on the subject of German Baptist Brethren New Conference. I want to say straight away I do not intend this to be a source of tearing down my fellowship nor a place for others to bash it either. My statements are not intended as a blanket statement that covers the entire brotherhood. If you don’t find yourself in the subject I have to speak on, then rest in your assurance of a clear mind. However if you do find yourself having this struggle evaluate your heart and move forward as a changed creation in the grace of God.

I believe that among our church there is a tendency to hide behind our uniform. *deep breath I typed that* Somewhere along the way it has become our only form of witnessing to the lost world. The over riding consensus is that our woman are billboards for the world to see as an example of a follower of Jesus Christ and the German Baptist Church. I’ll stop here and say, yes our modest funny looking dress does get us questions! Praise the Lord because if I would have never of seen a plain lady on the side of the road I wouldn’t be where I am today. However I’m the exception not the rule. The GB church has put a large amount of responsibility on the woman to be the ones in the day to day mission field. Yet what hasn’t been given to them is any training on how to witness. Oh yes from little up the children of our fellowship are filled to the brim with biblical teaching. That is a great joy and a very positive part of my fellowship! It encourages me greatly! However they aren’t really taught what to do when someone comes up and asks them a question about their clothing choices or fellowship. You ask 10 woman and you’ll get 10 answers and some might not be accurate.

You see, I’m not so sure that the German Baptist Church has a lot of room for outsiders beyond the occasional seeker that plows their way in. I’ve asked people “So how do we bring people into our fellowships and disciple them?” Only to be met with “Oh most people don’t want to come to our church you might as well stop trying.” I walk away feeling a little distant from my fellowship each time I hear that. I firmly believe it is OUR responsibility to go to the lost. It’s not the lost responsibility to come to us. We are to bring Jesus Christ to those that are lost. If we keep the gospel hidden by our casual thought that our dress will attract the lost then we have failed our mission here on earth.

So what can we do? I can only speak to the woman because my role is not that of a man. I hope maybe there is a man out there that is reading this that would be willing to talk to the men.

1. Know why you cover your head. Like not just the answer you’ve heard someone else say but know why YOU put it on each morning. Always take them back to the Father…not to church requirements.

2. Know why you choose modesty. Be willing to talk openly about modesty. Yes, answer their cultural questions but be sure to separate for them what is cultural vs. scriptural.

3. Have your testimony ready to share. I’m going out on a limb here and assuming if you have made the cultural change then you are in fact born again. You don’t have to give every detail but be sure to know your salvation story and use it to point to the Father love,Jesus’s sacrifice,and the Holy Spirit in dwelling in you.

4. Make sure who you are is who you are 100% of the time. When in public should be the same as you are on a Sunday. Make sure both line up with who God wants you to be. People are watching because of our culture differences. Let’s have them pointed back beyond our church building but to our Father God.

5. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation while out and about. It doesn’t have to dive straight into scripture. You can simply be friendly and show the love of Jesus. However if there is opportunity to direct the conversation do so! You may have just planted a seed.

6. Don’t use your cultural dress as a means to tune out those around you. Don’t place yourself on a pedestal of righteousness based on your attended fellowship.

7. Wear a smile. Honestly this right here is the capstone of knowledge I wish I could tell my entire fellowship. Do you know how unapproachable and snobby we look when we go around with a frown. I propose that we should smile even when it feels a little weird. Just do it!

8. Speaking of being inviting, make eye contact. I know it can be awkward but make eye contact ( and smile) at those that come into your path. I guarantee you that you’ll have more people willing to talk to you than if you avoid eye contact.

9. Remember that every time you step out the door you are in fact entering a mission field. You have an obligation to the kingdom of God and your king. It’s just as important as going across the ocean and sharing Jesus’s love to starving children. To kind of quote Finny “If you aren’t sharing the gospel locally you aren’t going to be able to do it anywhere else. People don’t magically become open to God word just because you’re on foreign soil.”

10. Lastly keep in mind the ultimate goal is to win people for Christ. The goal isn’t just to fill our church pews with success stories. If we can help them find a church fellowship that does work for them then that is a kingdom work. We shouldn’t think we are the only way because in reality there is only one way and it’s THE WAY Jesus Christ. However having said that there is a very bad issue if no new converts entering our community. I’d urge you to pray about how we as a body can be more like hands and feet of Christ.

So in short know what you believe. Don’t use your culture as a means to exclude seekers. Reach out to those around you. Don’t hide the gospel. Be a point of contact by starting with a smile and eye contact.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in a respectful manner

We say visitors welcome. Let’s really welcome visitors.

Much love,Pilgrim Nicci

Advertisements