Do you remember the first time you went to church and you saw the words of the song you were singing on the screen behind the pulpit? Churches began using overhead projectors to help worshippers engage in the service. It was new technology. It was useful and in many cases controversial. Yep, controversial.
Of course, if you are under the age of 40, this is laughable. For you, there was never a time when the words weren’t on a screen. Now, the lighting, projection methods, multimedia presentations all help make the musical portion of a church service more interactive and dynamic. New methods for a new time.
Churches are also trying to be trendy and modern in an effort to reach the unchurched. They seem like they want to fly under the radar, be seeker-sensitive, not wanting to offend. The Cross is disappearing from churches. The invitation to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is being made less and less. Although the message hasn’t changed, the delivery has. The Church is trying to fit in with the world.
And it’s not just the church; it’s me, too. Everyone wants to fit in and it’s a constant battle to not get drawn into the culture’s way of doing things.
I’m reading two books simultaneously (do you do that too?) and somehow they are talking about the same thing. I didn’t plan it that way, but I don’t think it’s an accident either. One is entitled “Unfashionable” by Tullian Tchividjian and the other is “The Good and Beautiful Community” by James Bryan Smith.
Here’s what Tchividjian says:
“We need to remember that God has established his church as an alternative society, not to compete with or copy this world, but to offer a refreshing alternative to it.”
And Smith says:
“The true narrative is this: Christians are not always different but they ought to be.”
As Christians… as the Church… we are called to be different, attractively peculiar, strangely appealing to the world around us. That’s what Jesus was. After all, who turns the other cheek, goes the extra mile, loves the unlovable, and touch the untouchable? Jesus and his followers… his Church, that’s who.
Tchividjian goes on to say:
“When we forget this (to be unique and different), we inadvertently communicate to our culture that we have nothing unique to offer, nothing deeply spiritual or profoundly transforming. Tragically, this leaves many in our world looking elsewhere for the difference they crave.”
Jesus says, “And I, if and when I am lifted up from the earth on the cross, will draw and attract all men Gentiles as well as Jews to Myself.”(John 12:32, AMP)
Relevant? Hip? There’s really no need. The Savior and his Good News are always relevant and hip because they give hope. The method may change but the Message never does.