I think the church has been given a gift in Andy Crouch’s Culture Making. Before I say anything else, I need to offer a command: read this book.
As Christian people we are called to create and offer culture to the world. As human beings we are created in God’s image. When we create, we reflect our Creator. As Crouch illustrates in his book, this motif is evident in the Genesis account, but is not confined there. Culture making takes place throughout the biblical narrative. The biblical story, being our story, invites us to a life of faithfulness that includes creating spaces in our communities where the life of the Kingdom is found manifest. This can be in a group as small as a family or tightly knit group of friends, but can grow to be larger.
In the third part of his book, Crouch illustrates how we can go about creating culture. The task begins very small. The context for culture making is named as The 3, The 12, and The 120. The principle is simple. Crouch cites examples from movies, books (writer, editor, publisher), and forms of government that focus centrally on about three people, widens to around 12, and reaches to approximately 120. The numbers aren’t always exact, but they fall near that range. Christians will immediately think of Jesus, his inner circle, the twelve, and then other disciples (the 70, for example) that Jesus commissioned during his ministry.
When we think of creating culture, whether we are lay leaders, ordained clergy, or other church staff, we never go about creating culture by ourselves. We need others. Crouch states:
Absolutely no one makes culture alone. There may be periods of solitude where we work alone to shape our contribution to our own cultural sphere and scale. But for our work alone to bear any fruit at all, we will need to join with a 3. So one of the most important questions for our calling is, Who are your 3? Who are the few people you trust enough to risk creating something together? What is the cultural sphere and scale where you could imagine successfully proposing a cultural good? Who might be members of your 12? Who might be drawn into the circle of the 120 who will eventually lend their effort and energy to moving the horizons of possibility with you?
These are all great questions. So, who are your 3? Who are your 12? And who are your 120? And what are you creatively discerning and formulating together for the good? What will you invite others to take part in?
Surround yourself with friends, dream big, and get to work. May God bless your labors.