Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Relevant Church

A recent study by the Barna group grabbed my attention today. I typically don’t pay too much attention to studies and polls, but this one made some interesting observations about the unchurched. In sum, not only are there more and more of them, but they are not drawn to the style of church we might most commonly associate with a “seeker sensitive” model.

I have long suspected that the unchurched don’t care at all for programs and events, and I am convinced that church drama/media programs can’t compete with what the rest of the world provides. Barna’s research seems to agree:

They are wholly disinterested in church life – often passionately so. Stirring worship music won’t attract them because worship isn’t even on their radar screen. More comfortable pews cannot compete with the easy chair or the bed that already serve the unchurched person well. Church events cannot effectively compete with what the world has to offer.

After all, was the church placed on this earth to out-entertain the rest of the world? Or was it placed here in order to look out for the souls of God’s children? The Bible will always make for bad PR simply because the only way to get to the “good parts” about grace and eternity are through conviction and repentance.

Os Guiness deals with this well in his book , Prophetic Untimeliness where he argues that the surest way of being culturally irrelevant is to worship at the idol of relevance. It is like trying to keep up with the latest fad or fashion; by the time you buy the newest style shirt, it is out of date and you look silly. The remedy then for the church is one of striving for fidelty to Scripture and God’s Spirit on earth. Only then will we be able to hit the culture between their eyes and change lives.


Steve said...

Hey Phil! It's great to see you blogging! It feels a little strange doesn't it, throwing out your thoughts and opinions for all to read? Even after blogging for a while I felt a bit strange when I received your email today about finding my blog!

I look forward to reading your posts and keeping in touch virtually!

Grace and peace,

Joey said...

Interesting new take on this subject, Phil. I get a feeling that a lot of people are so weirded out by our manner of worship that the musical style has no effect on them.