How can a regular, local church make progress in the work of reconciliation? What are some practical steps a congregation can take?

One of the most practical steps a church can take to embrace reconciliation is that of cultural adaptation—recognizing that culture shapes lives and willingly making the changes necessary to further the kingdom.

It's not a foreign concept to churches. Youth pastors, for example, regularly adapt Christian values, attitudes, and beliefs to cultural forms that youth understand. For some reason, though, when it comes to race, social class, or gender differences, we often do not follow the same principle. In those cases, we're concerned that "adaptation" is instead "showing preference."

Most differences based in cultural backgrounds are not inappropriate, just different. For example, when I was a pastor, I noticed that most of the people we served in our food pantry wouldn't attend our Sunday services. The whole point of us giving them bread was to introduce them to the Bread of Life.

After several interactions with these guests, I realized why: We were a white-collar congregation, and our ...

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