Monday, February 3, 2014
Popular Culture, The Church, & Jesus
I don't pretend to have all the answers, more so I just feel like I am joining a conversation that has already been started. There is this constant conversation around the word "relevant" in the church today and what that looks like. Some say the church isn't relevant enough and that's why we're not reaching the lost, others say the church looks just like culture and that's why we are ineffective. How does the church be/stay relevant etc.. What does it look like to be in the world but not of it? How do we intertwine enough technology and "props" into the church so we can reach the lost that live in this culture? When is it too much, where is the line, or is there such a thing?
I agree that we should use whatever means possible to reach the lost and if the church hides her head in the sand and refuses to change with the times I fear we will miss out on reaching an entire generation. However, with that said changing with the times never should mean a loss of the potency of the Gospel. Parties should never be a substitute for power. Sometimes we can think that the power of God is no longer relevant to this generation. Even if we never say that out loud that is what we really are thinking even if we are not completely aware we are thinking it! But it comes through in our marketing, and actions, and the focus becomes more on outreach and entertainment than actually introducing people to Jesus. If we just have enough parties, or cool outreach events, or enough "fun" then people will want to apart of this thing we call the Church. Out of the goodness of our hearts we truly do want to reach the lost but somewhere along down the road the Gospel gets lost in a modern marketing package of lights and good programs. Programs don't save people, Jesus does. Do I believe in good programs? YES. Do I believe in the church using modern technology in a spirit of excellence to reach this generation? ABSOLUTLEY. But a good program is just that, a good program. Programs should never be a substitute for the presence of God.
The church should be the moral standard bearer for culture not the culture the standard bearer for the church. Obviously not in a condemning way but certainly in an unapologetic way. Jesus hung out with drunk people and partiers to the point that people thought he was one. However, Jesus carried God's standard of holiness with Him to those parties and He never lowered it just to gain their approval or just to get them to accept Him. If He had done that He would have lost His potency and ability to actually change people, to offer them anything different than what they already had.
The church (and when I say church I don't mean my church I mean THE church) needs to learn how to be in culture yet never lower her standard that Jesus calls us to bear. When we are with unbelievers may we always be the standard bears in humility and love but never in compromise. We in the church need to understand that dumbing down or downplaying the Gospel and the power of God will never save this generation. This generation doesn't need anything new spiritually, Jesus still works just as well. I believe what it takes for a church to be effective in this western culture is to marry modern technology with the raw power of God and watch a generation come to Him in droves. It is not either or, it is both and more.