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.