There’s been a lot of talk lately about the church, its purpose, its message and the way in which church is advertised, presented and “done”. I’m personally thrilled that there’s dialogue about something that has been a taboo subject for way too long.
I grew up in a pretty strict denomination. Salvation came with a list of do’s, don’t’s, behavior expectations, and dress code. I have a solid foundation of bible basics as well as church protocol. I can dress the part with the best of ’em.
It hasn’t been until the last 5 years that I’ve began shedding the layers of condemnation that come with a salvation of “works”. You know…the idea that you can earn your salvation. The perception that God loves you based on how often you read your bible, pray, attend church, and of course; the length of your skirt.
I’ve read a few tweets, FB rants, and instagram posts about churches being too concerned with being relevant.
“Jesus doesn’t need any help”
“The lights and videos take away from the star of the show….Jesus.”
“We’re missing the point of church”
I’ve taken some time to ponder these thoughts. I actually used to feel deeply that these thoughts were correct. But, you see….I’ve gone to almost every type of church you can imagine. The strict church. The pastor centered church. The “just enough” Spirit church. The black church. The white church trying to seem black. The grace church with wonderful worship, wonderful teaching, but lacking in outreach and fellowship. I’ve even done the “I don’t go to church because I’m sick of church but I love Jesus” church.
Finally, my husband and I have found a church that suits the needs of our family. After attending for a year we recently became members, and both of us are now actively serving.
Guess what? It’s a “seeker friendly” church.
Preppy dressing pastor.
and coffee. Lots of coffee. Because coffee is important.
You know what? I LOVE my church. I love that my husband is excited to go each week, and is now actively using his various gifts in video, sound and music production in our church. I love that my children are actively growing in the Word of God and meeting new friends. I love that the music ministry is presented with both passion and excellence. I love that my pastor speaks plain truth applicable to every day living and very much Christ centered. You know what I love the most? I’m not afraid or ashamed to invite strangers or unbelievers to my church. I love that there are plenty of care groups and community groups to be involved in to assist with growing in God’s word and actively living out the commission as not just believers, but disciples. I love that my church isn’t boring.
Maybe the question we should be asking isn’t “Should the church be relevant”, but rather…”Who is church for?” When I think back to the various churches I’ve gone to before now, they all had one thing in common. There were rarely any visitors who were unbelievers.
Aren’t we supposed to go out into the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in? (Luke 14:23) What’s compelling about a lecture? What’s compelling about coming to a place where you feel uncomfortable because you’re not dressed like everyone else? What’s compelling about a building falling apart at the seams and a pastor that takes up 2-3 offerings in one services and drives away in his luxury car?
I think back to the book of Genesis and the way God took His time in creating the world. Day. Night. Land. Sea. Animals. Colors and variation everywhere an eye could see. I doubt for one second that God thought to Himself, “Maybe I shouldn’t make the beautiful body of water…turquoise and flowing….because it might take away from my beauty. ” Are you kidding? A) There’s no comparison. B) The beautiful , turquoise water is just another element of God’s person. He’s creative. And His creativity is another tool to draw us into Him. Why can’t it be the same with our presentation of vocal, music, lighting, and video gifts in church?
The message of Jesus can be heard, felt and received in so many ways. I think we do ourselves and those we are trying to reach a disservice when we assume it can and should be delivered in only one way.