When I was a kid, many churches didn’t engage my generation. Most of my friends “went to church” but we didn’t follow Christ. The American church (for the most part) lost touch with how to engage the younger generations.
The church needed to change. And it did. We needed to become more relevant in the way we engaged non-believers, challenged believers, and presented God’s Word. One result was the “seeker-sensitive” church. This movement brought some very positive changes, including:
- We don’t assume everyone is a believer when they come to church.
- We don’t assume everyone knows our language, has a Bible, or even cares about Christ.
- We are more outward-focused.
In my opinion, though, in recent years, the pendulum has swung too far. Now, in some places, church is so relevant that we almost worship culture more than Christ.
It’s sad to me when pastors think a church must have:
- Cool lights and videos
- A coffee shop
- Sermon series with catchy titles and intro videos
- A stool and a table on the stage
- Buildings with no Christian symbols
- ___________ (Fill in your own blank. There are too many of these things to list.)
When people do finally come to church, we should help them experience Christ — not just something that looks like a rock concert, coffee bar, or movie theater. (I’m not saying they can’t experience Christ in those environments. I’m saying that some churches are putting more energy into environments than into preaching of God’s Word.)
Environments don’t change lives. Christ changes lives.
The churches that thrive will be Biblical churches. God’s Word will be preached. People will feel uncomfortable, challenged, convicted. The future church will be more about preaching and living God’s Word than about attracting people with clever sermon titles, videos and programs. Sure, we might use those things I (or maybe not…GASP!). But only those who preach God’s Word will thrive. The rest will die.