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Cutting Edge Christianity?
How can we make the Church Relevant?
How can we make the message of Jesus more palatable?
How do we reach the younger generation with the gospel?
These are the questions many within the Church are pondering. These types of questions and more are the topic of conversations among many church staffs and denominational leaders. This type of mentality makes some assumptions, one is that God is in the need of help from His creation, to carry out the redemption of sinners. Maybe it's not the assumption that God needs help, or maybe to show our worthiness depends on us to come with a plan to further His kingdom. Kind of like when a TV show ask you to send in ideas for an episode.
When you start with the basis that God needs our help, and that it is our responsibility to come with new and imaginative schemes, we begin to be PR specialist. This type of mentality causes us to look at depraved sinners in the need of a Holy Savior as consumers. Every business looks at its business plan and says how can we attract consumers and create a customer base. Clothing stores see what the newest trends are and make clothes that will attract consumers, McDonalds has a value menu because consumers want something cheap. When this mentality takes root, and sinners are now consumers we look at God as the merchandise. Then we want to market God and His services. People have a real need, cutting edge Christian leaders say how can we market our product to this consumer. Like all businesses they want to find out what the consumer wants and then offers their product "God" and "Church" by showing features and benefits.
Attend Church On Line
A Whole New Way To Worship
We want to create a positive experience for you (the consumer)
These are all statements that I have seen as of late, that various Churches are making.
Problem, you can't attend Church on line. You can listen to sermons, you can listen to music and you can watch videos of preaching. Church is the "called out" and assembled together. You can't do that on line, if you are not called then you are not really the Church any way. This gives a low view of the assembling of the Saints, and the worship we engage in. Technology is not the problem, it the misrepresentation of the truth. Why can't they say go on line and listen to the message. Instead it is "hay you consumer we are cutting edge and you can get your religion in a hour on the computer."
"A Whole New Way To Worship"
Really, I thought when Jesus said "To worship in Spirit and in Truth" thought that was complete. I guess it's nice to know that in 2000 years now we have a new way to worship. That's some good advertising and marketing, making them feel that you have something new to offer, not the old Jesus and Hymns, but something new and exciting, Jesus on a Harley, or Jesus on a Horse for those good ol' cowboys who need to worship in a barn. Nothing wrong with the barn mind you, nothing wrong with cowboys, but still it's just a niche marketing plan, to appeal to consumers.
North Point Church/Andy Stanley
Pasted From Website & Ed Stetzer Interview
If you choose to join us one Sunday, we will make every effort to create an enjoyable experience for you.
Question: So, how do you engage people?
Andy: One of the things that we talk a lot about around here is what makes for a relevant environment?
There are three things:
1) an appealing setting, 2) engaging communication, and 3) helpful information.
60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, " This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?" 61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble?
Pleasant experience and helpful doesn't seem to be the thrust of this particular teaching, but the truth, even at the expense of those who would walk away.
So I must be anti-evangelism, Hyper Calvinist, isolationist who is prepared like Jonah to watch the wrath of God destroy those who don't know their left hand from their right. Not at all, I want people to enjoy worship at the church I pastor, I want people to be exposed to the gospel and use technologies that are at our disposal. However, I don't want to treat people like consumers. I am bi-vocational and have been in sales for a long time. We can't use tactics that PR Firms and Marketing Strategist use, because it cheapens the gospel. Invite people to worship, but don't call it a "Whole New Way To Worship", because that's a lie and it's manipulation. Invite people to listen or view a sermon, but don't liken it to worship and assembling of the saints. Worship is for God, not for man, our main emphasis is how we can worship Him, not create a positive experience for visitors. When Moses took the children of Israel out of Egypt to worship, positive environment was not the greatest concern. I believe that God has a plan to redeem sinners, and my job is not to come up with a new one, it is to find out what He is already doing and follow Him.
Grace and peace to all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ,