Last night in my community/connect/cell group, we were reflecting why people come to the church we go to. There were a variety of answers, based on our own feelings and perceptions. I asked if it was not the combination of “be believing” and “being educated.” I said I found it rare to to have both things in one church and wondered how others felt. A young woman heartily agreed. She said that was what her set found appealing. She named a large, nearby church that attracts many 20 and 30 year olds. She said, “When you hear them talk, and it is so black and white, it sound like bullshit.”
Really! Other said that they were just “so over” the “loud music” and the “stage performance.”
Actually that other church is probably filled with college educated people. And probably the pastor has a graduate degree. Nevertheless, that is our impression/feeling/perception.
We also asked if church attendance and faith were down in society. Well, belief and attendance has shifted, but it is not clear at all that the church is dwindling — just the churches that are not Biblical. It does seems, however, that the younger cohorts are less likely to be churched. What is clear is that orthodox, Biblical Christian values do not hold sway in wider society like they used to.
What can we take away from this discussion? Pastors, church planters, and sociologists of religion have some grist for their mill. As parents and Sunday School teachers let’s realize that if we must serve up Believing in a way that is compelling to both heart and head. I am not talking about “being relevant” which means often substituting or watering down the gospel. I mean stiffening up the figurative coffee. I mean really engaging. I mean getting into the deep things of the Bible, Spirit, — and evangelism.
The sweet words of reasonable liberalism sounded very good in the churches of the 1960s…. are mouthed in media, classroom, and legislative bodies today… but do not do justice to the reality around us. Unless we Speak TRUTH to purported power, our words will fall on unimpressed ears.