CULTURE & Entertaining Videos on Cultural Time-warps

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 10/22/15.

In a leadership exercise on this wiki (linked here) I posited the thesis that people may associate the cultural arts associated with the time they were saved, with the preferred artist expression to reach people today.  In other words, if a person was saved when gospel quartet music was played, will they associate that style of music with evangelism even today.  Thus, the leadership exercise asked, “Do people get stuck in a cultural ‘time-warp’ from the era in which they were saved?

One student pointed out that my question about “Cultural Time Warps” should really be about the time when a Christian experienced rapid spiritual growth and not necessarily when they were saved. That is because some people may have a salvation experience, and then enter a period of slow (or no 😦 growth. That is a good point.

But, the gist of the leadership exercise is that people can get stuck in a “cultural time-warp” at the period when they experienced new birth and/or rapid spiritual growth. The result is that people connect music, styles, etc. associated with the time of their salvation/growth with “spiritually powerful” songs, styles, etc..  They feel the songs that impacted them, will always impact others.

And, this is normal but not beneficial.  That is because the result can be that people will expect (and subtly require) others be touched by the same cultural songs, styles, etc. that they once enjoyed.

Here are some videos that can serve as an example.

Video A: The first was taken during the Jesus Movement of the late 60s and early 70s.  I got saved then. And, this was how the ideal worship happened back then:


Video B: This next video is how Jesus Movement morphed into:


Video C: Here now is an example of how worship can happen in the e-world of today:

Now here is followup Leadership Exercise.

Which is better?  How are they different?

Actually, A and C are very organic and much the same, only one eschewed technology (e.g. it is a cappella – which means “in the style of Medieval church music”) and the other relies on technology.  As a person who has researched and experienced both the Jesus Movement and the Emerging Movement, I have pointed out that they are both very organic and similar (Inside the Organic Church, 2006, pp. xxiii-xxxiii).

The middle example (Video B) is what many Jesus Movement boomers grew to prefer.  It is more event-orientated and resembles more of a concert format.  For many boomers this could be their idea Sunday morning worship expression.

I think you would agree that these worship expressions are sometimes dissimilar, and at other times similar.  And, that all three are valid, just for different people and different times.  Thus, churches that are seeking to reach out to multiple cultures will want to have multiple worship expressions, so 2+ cultures can be reached.  And, they may need to be at separate venues, for different cultures prefer different styles.  When a church accommodates different cultural styles, it makes the church more inclusive, diverse and long-lived.