The Glocalized Church

Glocalization: (GLOH.kuh.lye.zay.shun) n. The creation of products or services intended for the global market, but customized to suit the local culture.

My Mother-In-Law called me today and asked me what this word meant. To be honest, I had never heard of it before so I quickly jumped on the internet, did a search, and satisfied both of our curiosities. After I shared the information with her, I got to thinking about the definition above. All I can say is this is an awesome concept. Jesus is the “product or services” intended for the “global market”, and it is the Churchs’ job to find a way to “customize” the presentation to “suit the local culture.”

Now, I in no way advocate the changing of The Gospel. There is only One Gospel and it is that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, He was raised from the dead, and because of this, those of us who accept Him into our lives have full and free deliverance from the power and penalty of sin according to the grace of God alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone. What I am advocating is that we package our message in a way that makes it culturally relevant to the community or group of people we are trying to reach for Christ.

I’ve been in a lot of churches were the message is a “one size fits all” type of message. I realize that I am not the foremost authority on church growth, but just by observing different churches, it would appear to me that those who are thinking outside the box when it comes to their worship experiences, those who try and make their main service more relevant to their communities, are the churches that are experiencing growth in numbers, and growth in the Christian maturity level of those who attend the worship experiences.

Case in point, my Mother-In-Law edits a few books a year that someone else has translated from the English language to the Spanish language. She gets so frustrated at times because the translator has absolutely no clue of the culture. If the book would have gone to the publisher without her editing it, the target audience would have read it and not understood a lot of it because it was translated verbatim. It was not presented in a culturally relevant way so that the target audience would fully understand it.

This leads me to two questions.

  1. Is your church preaching a “Glocalized Gospel”?
  2. Is your church preaching a “one size fits all” Gospel?

What are your thoughts on this?

2 responses to “The Glocalized Church

  1. Ok so I dont usually respond but thought I would today.

    I agree, many churches preach a ‘one size fits all’ type of message. The truth is depending on the size of the church I can see where they are coming from. I believe however if the pastor could become more involved with his members and be attentive to their concerns with daily life or gospel they could easily avoid this approach.

    I have long said that church in many ways (other than financial gain) is like a business where the profit is souls. That being said it is necessary to market the gospel in a palatable manner. I want to re-iterate what you said in that I do not mean change the meanings. I do however mean that it is necessary to give the gospel relevance.

    A pastors job should be to take the Word and apply it to everyday living. Listen to your parishoners or members and develop lessons based on relevance to the current human experience.

    Jesus preached with relevance. I believe that the fact that His earthly father worked as a carpenter and He hung out with fishermen was because that made him more marketable. Obviously it is much more complicated than that but the truth is, more people could relate to the son of a carpenter who fished on the side than to someone born into royalty. Even those in higher working classes than Jesus (IE the tax collectors) could relate because oftentimes they had at the very least hired or worked with a carpenter.

    I guess what I am trying to say is the amazing thing is that Jesus was marketing the Way the Truth and the Life so there was no need for him to exaggerate what the product was, could do or was worth He just had to be passionate (which duh He was the living proof) and relateable.

    The way I relate in Oklahoma is different from the way some relate in California, there are different concerns and different realities in the two regions of the country. My pastor needs to relate to me in a way that is pertinent to my fears, desires and needs.

    Sometimes I wish that pastors could be more relevant.

    • Awesome insight, Britni! I think you might have actually said it better than me!