Is it helpful for a pastor to be aware of the world around him? Of course. Specifically, it’s good to have some awareness of the worldviews which characterize one’s culture, so that one can meaningfully engage some of the questions people are likely to have about Christianity. A culture that doesn’t believe in truth, for instance, may benefit from one kind of sermon introduction, while a Muslim culture which believes in truth might benefit from another kind. Reading magazines or watching movies may help one to gain some sense of the reigning worldviews.
But that hardly means a pastor needs to subscribe to all the top pop-culture magazines and spend every other evening watching movies. It’s our opinion that, if you’ve been living in a country for more than a few years, you probably already have a decent sense of its worldviews. Yes, a little concentrated study might be helpful, but it doesn’t take much to figure out these matters.
More to the point, using pop culture references is hardly the magic key to connecting with the current generation. In fact, that is the exact opposite of what the apostle Paul teaches, who said that it is the gospel that is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, not any preacher’s clever references to pop culture. Paul placed his entire confidence in the power of the Word of God and the Spirit of God (see 1 Cor. 1-3 and 2 Cor. 4-5), not in his ability to connect with contemporary culture.
Find more great resources for church health from Mark Dever and 9Marks Ministries at www.9marks.org