Bill Easum on Reaching the Postmodern at Exponential

Bill EasumBill Easum
Reaching the Postmodern

6 metaphors to the church

1920-1960 National Park – Modern = a clearly defined, planned, and safe world – we are entitled to the national park – sacred

1960 Jungle – dangerous, changes, but there is beauty at the other end – we are not entitled to the jungle – you need a compass and a GPS- you can get lost quickly – nothing is sacred – constant flux

The jungle is more like the 1st century

  • paganism
  • polytheism – a weak Christology will not survive in the jungle
  • intense commerce – “how we relate to the poor says more about who we are than what we believe”
  • super national – if you don’t believe in miracles, you should throw your Bible away

The problem:
There is just enough National Park left our leaders to try to hide in the past.

About the time you figure out the rules, they are going to change. Which means we can’t continue doing what we have done.

National Park = Propositional Truth              Jungle = Embodied Truth

National Park = Dualism                               Jungle = Dualism Rejected

National Park = Ultimate Value                     Jungle = Situational Values

National Park = Print Culture                        Jungle = Digital Culture

National Park = Linear World View                Jungle = Loopy World Views

Scientists have a word for what is happening today – wormhole / black hole

The World Today:

  • Everything is set on speed
  • Everything is blurred
  • Everything is in flux

The Emerging World

6 key components

  • friends
  • experience
  • extended family
  • purposeful living
  • relationships
  • direction


5 things that will matter the most

@ fulfilling relationships

@ ecstatic joy replaces duty

@ experiencing the immediate presence of God replaces correct theology

@ music and the arts are the life blood

@ many forms of technology


What this means:

  • we need a new type of church and Christian must emerge from the ashes of modernity

3 more metaphors:

spiritual midwives – pastors who do spend most of your time with? the spiritually pregnant or complainers – invest your time in those who have the possibility to be spiritual leaders and disciple makers. Otherwise, you are waisting your time. Apostles don’t do; they raise up leaders. They don’t manage organization – they let them be fluid.

“Movements begin to fail when they focus on organization.”

Spiritual Redwood

Organic things grow based on how the wind blows – they remain fluid. They survive on creative chaos.

“Spiritual maturity isn’t achieved at church – it is achieved at the well with the woman.”

What hold all this together? The DNA – DNA is determined when conceived – not after birth.

This is not another form of “restructuring or flattening or reinventing.

Incubating Churches

Like new borns, new Christians need time to develop and grow strong. People have to belong in the church before they will believe Jesus.

The postmodern’s situation:

  • Most people are blank slates
  • grown up outside the church
  • mentored by their peers
  • most baptisms will occur over 18 years of age

Incubating Worship:

  • Worship must be an experience
  • Preaching must be more than a data dump – this doesn’t convert people




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