In light of that I think there is a definite So-Cal surf culture feel to our style of ministry. Laid back soft spoken pastors, casual dress (can you say tacky Hawaiin Shirts and flip flops…well the flip flops are cool but the Tommy Bahama shirts have got to go!), comfortable atmosphere, services that start late (Calvary Time), the perpetual use of the apparent pronoun Dude, etc.
But does this So-Cal feel work everywhere? Not the philosophy of ministry (teaching through the Bible, balance theologically, simplicity, so on) but the whole surf culture…does it work in let’s say Des Moines, Iowa…Little Rock, Arkansas or Prineville, OR?
I would say no.
I think it is incumbent upon Calvary Chapel guys to understand the cultural context that they are planting their churches in and allow the feel of the ministry to be molded by that instead of trying to force So-Cal on midwesterners, southerners or rednecks
For some reason the word “culture” is kind of taboo in CC circles. I’m not really sure why that is except that it’s a knee jerk from the emergent’s overuse of the word. The reality of it is, there is a definite culture to the roots of our movement, and when Calvary pastors begin to realize that it will free us up to embrace the culture where we live and pastor.
Culture, like money, sex, music, or alcohol is innocuous in and of itself. Culture is people…people are culture. We are called to reach people, therefore we are called to reach culture. So rather than trying to force a foreign culture on people calling it “The Calvary Way” we should bring our philosophy of ministry to these contexts being sensitive to the people we are trying to reach.
Feel free to weigh in…
And a post on the Phoenix Preacher that you can read here.