Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Contemporary and Relevant Church Battle


It's hard to watch this without having a pretty strong reaction.  You'll either see it and cringe or become defensive.  Check it out.

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer


This is actually the worship team at this mega-church satirically looking at themselves.  But the problem is that many think this has become the standard by which church is measured, and they don't think it's funny at all...even when done satirically.  What was seen just a few years ago seen as edgy and cutting edge is now seen by many to be a form of church that is great at developing crowds of spectators waiting to be entertained each week, but is lousy at creating participants in the worship of Christ.

These people say the central mission of the church is to make disciples and the "contemporary/relevant" church might be good at making converts and gathering crowds, but not making disciples.  Central in this criticism is that the contemporary/relevant form of church develops a very shallow, experience driven spirituality that requires another dose the next week to sustain it.  People are left more and more dependent upon the pastor and the service instead of living a life that is characterized by discipleship and the development of spiritually mature Christian character.

On the other side, the practitioners of the contemporary/relevant church model defend themselves by saying it's the church's job to meet people where they are at spiritually.  This requires the church to carefully plan a marketing strategy to best meet the felt-needs of the community and demonstrating to non-believers that Christians are not religious nuts and the church is relevant to daily life.  These churches have a contemporary feel to them usually meaning the music played during church is the same stuff you'd hear on any contemporary Christian music station.  They also seek to be contemporary in removing what they call "barriers" (traditional Christian church items such as crosses, pulpits, organs, etc) from the church building.  The resulting new construction has typically been nice, but utilitarian, with an emphasis on creating as many seat as possible for the lowest cost per seat.

There are many issues involved in this debate and this is what I'll be writing on for the next few weeks.  I would love to get your feedback on the video.  The blogs responses have been really polarized with many being incredibly defensive of the contemporary/relevant movement.  The basic response is how dare anyone criticize what is obviously a movement of God.  On the other side, there are many that believe the problems of this movement are so dire, they just can't believe this mega-church would sarcastically poke fun at themselves. They feel deeply and passionately that this isn't funny at all and the fact this video was made as a sarcastic parody proves how far off the mark these churches have become.

I would love to get your feedback.  What do you all think?  Please give me your reactions to the video.
Thanks

8 comments:

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

Thanks for sharing this. I've never been a fan of "mega churches". I believe praise and worship is a very personal thing. It is... about God, not us... I feel that a lot of things about worship have been warped. I think you know what I'm talking about since you posted this.

We need to keep our focus on God and His purpose.

PoppaPenguin said...

I am not a fan of the "mega-church" or what I call the "rock star" style of service.

I partake of the "celebration service" (ie, contemporary music and less formal service) of my very contemporary church. However, I believe this is the roots of my generation.

My children have been drawn to the "mega-church"... the music, the message, and the many programs available to them and their family.

We each find our own path to life with Christ and the Holy Spirit. Praise God.

Bob Isaac said...

I've been in the Army for 24 years now, moved all over the country and been to many, many churches, and this is something I've noticed (sadly) all too often. I've seen stages appear (elevating the musicians), special lighting effects, and even stage fog. It was a concert versus worship. Additionally, these same churches had a hard-lined approach to their casual atmosphere. I once wore a suit to our church in Kansas City and received many nasty looks. One gentleman was so bothered, he had to confront me to remind me that we wear casual attire here. I told him I was comfortable, and asked .."weren't we really just subscribing to a new form of pageantry with this insistence on casual attire?" Once the focus becomes anything but Christ, the Church is in trouble. I see this chasing after "the fresh, the new, the relevant" as being more like fad-ism and less like discipleship. I have a passion for contemporary Christian music (and lead a group at our chapel), but we strive to play well, not for recognition, but to not be a distraction to the congregation in their individual and corporate worship to God. I am convinced that the trappings of the entertainment industry (lights, fog, etc) have no place in the church. I feel this way about anything that steals focus off of Christ.
My 2 cents...
Bob Isaac

Anonymous said...

hello my name is casey lee gragg and let me tell you what even if i find a small struggle in my heart and in my life I find the power of the holy spirit rise through my bones and help me scream hallelujia!!! i love my faith.. i love lamp.. I love lamp

~Casey Lee Gragg

趙嘉慧 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

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andy said...

Just stumbled across your blog and am loving what I read so far. Mega-Church is a tough call. As much as I enjoy my sweet home church group I kinda miss the days of sitting in a rockin service fully animated and choreographed....