The February 2009 edition of National Geographic Magazine has an article about escaping North Korea. The main part of the articles features two girls who were lured into a sex-on-the-internet ring and then escaped to South Korea with the help of a pastor.
The author encountered the two girls after they had been in South Korea for eight months. He asked one of the girls, “Do you have many friends?”
She replied, “How can I make friends if I can’t make sense of the society outside?” (p. 98).
It reminds me that part of ministry requires us making sense of the society “outside” the church, with the goal of helping them see that society outside the church doesn’t even make sense itself.
If we can’t make sense of the society outside, our ministry will probably be hampered to some degree. Understanding how people think and what they think helps us to communicate the Bible to them effectively, in ways that they can understand.
This is not as hard as some people make it. I doubt we need to be well versed in South Park (or whatever the newest cartoon is), Dangerous Housewives, Big Brother, or American Idol.
If we get out of the church, and listen and observe the people around us, we will probably start to make sense of their world, and can begin to figure out how to show them that their world doesn’t make sense.