An article in The Blaze, May 13, 2015 written by Matt Walsh was titled: “Maybe Christianity In America Is Dying Because It’s Boring Everyone To Death.” He begins with: “I recently attended a service that might help solve the riddle of the fantastic decline of American Christianity.” We need to observe that his entire article should be read to understand the context of his opinions and analysis (http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/maybe-christianity-in-america-is-dying-because-its-boring-everyone-to-death/). You may conclude that he is caustic in his approach and views the church with a jaundiced eye. However, some of his points deserve to be considered.
About the music in the church service, he wrote: “Finally, church started. The choir, or jam band for Jesus, or whatever it was, played a song that sounded like a cross between a 90′s Disney soundtrack and an easy listening favorite you might hear if you skimmed through your aunt’s second generation iPod. It wasn’t really contemporary, or good, or relevant, but at least it wasn’t traditional. Because YUCK! Tradition is old! The singer was relatively talented, but he carried on like an American Idol contestant. I got the impression that he was fishing for applause, not worshiping the Lord of the Universe. His style and demeanor said “talent show” but the music said “wine and cheese festival” or maybe “my dentist’s waiting room.” It definitely didn’t say “truth,” or “heaven,” or “the Great King sitting upon his throne amidst throngs of mighty angels.”
As he listened to the pastor, he opined: “The pastor began with another round of jokes. They weren’t very funny but they succeeded in being unserious, which I guess is close enough. The sermon was jam packed with youth slang and pop culture. He mentioned a couple of TV shows and Netflix. He made sports metaphors. He didn’t do anything with the references, he just hung them out there like we were supposed to be impressed that he knows about these things. I think he even said something about Angry Birds. Dated, sure, but it did the job of letting us know that the guy speaking also used a smart phone at some point in the last five years. He totally gets us! The word “Gospel” made maybe one appearance in his message. The words “truth,” “sacred,” “reverence,” “sin,” “hell,” “virtue,” “obedience,” and “duty” were conspicuously absent, just as they’re absent from most sermons delivered in most churches, everywhere in the country. Of course he did throw in a friendly helping of “friend” and “helping.” And “tolerance.” Obviously tolerance. It’s important to only preach the sort of principles we can practice from our couches, you know.”
Is the writer correct in his assessment? What about the church you attend? Is it on the cutting edge of the culture or is it just “another day at the office” and ho-hum type of service? I have the privilege of visiting some of the smaller churches that contain a shrinking membership. Some press on to call another pastor for their church without ever pausing to ask themselves: Why? Questions that are seldom asked are: What is your calling in ministry? What is your motivation in wanting to be considered for this particular church? What is your vision for ministry? Is it an overall vision that has been used in other pastoral opportunities? Do you view ministry as a job that offers an acceptable salary? Why would you want to move yourself and your family into this area? Have you assessed the demographics of the area? Is the seeking church open and willing to do cross-cultural ministry? Have they done so – ever? Is Romans 15:20, “I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation” your goal in ministry? Is the seeking congregation plugged into that approach for ministry? What are they doing now in that regard? An overall assurance in terms of ministry effort for the Head of the Church is Matthew 16:18 where Jesus said: “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
The goal and purpose for ministry is given by Jesus Christ (John 4:23-24), “But the hour is coming,and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” May that be the aim and heart-cry of The Church today! Consider these things with me!
I’ve written a book that is now in the hands of the publisher titled: The Twenty-First Century Church: Is It Waxing Or Waning. Watch for it!