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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mc Churches - I'm NOT Lovin' it

Mc Churches... what???

I've been reading some blogs lately and it seems like an overarching theme is "experience". People need experiences. Worship programming promote experiences.

More and more lately, from what I've been seeing, music is designed for the experience of the "unchurched". Stages (without pulpits) are now elaborate sets designed for culturally relevant, messages trying to convey Truth veiled in worldy themes of secualr movies or television shows.

Bigger, louder, more comfortable, "bring your latte from our food court and socialize" services are "crafted" to make people (man-centered approach) comfortable. I mean, if you don't give people what they want, they won't come to church, right?

I would argue that they are not going to church anyway.

R.C. Sproul once said

"One of the most dangerous things you can do as
a Christian is to determine your theology by your experience"

How then did we as a culture (I'm beginning not to like that word) fall into this trap? I've heard it said over and over again from numerous seeker-sensitive and emergent pastors that we need to be like the world, read worldly magazines, listen to worldly music and talk like the world. Do people know the meaning of "mac daddy"? Google it and see what you find. It's not for the faint of heart.

Wait! Didn't Paul became all things to all men? Shouldn’t we adopt those forms of music and the accompanying behavior to get the Christian message to the lost, er... unchurched?

Ummm... no.

When Paul “became a Jew to the Jews and a Gentile to the Gentiles,” he didn't adopted cultural expressions that were in conflict with principles he himself insisted elsewhere that we follow as a course of life that is pleasing to God. Actually, he commands us not to adopt or continue in unbiblical practices of the pagans, who are in darkness (Ephesians 4:17-20), but to walk in a manner worthy of our high calling (Ephesians 4:1-2). When he commands us to “let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth” (Ephesians 4:29), he makes no exception for “cultural expression” or “contextualization.”

Here are the verses quoted from above...

Ephesians 4:17-20 says,

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way,

Ephesians 4:1-2 says,

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one anotherin love,

Ephesians 4:29 says,

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Does your walk and ministry line up with the Bible? All of this leads up to the point that I wanted to make about "church methods". One of the hottest methods for growth is that churches try to clone themselves. Their argument is that people will buy into and trust what they are familiar with. While this may be true in the fast-food ecomony of marketing, it does not fly when you hold it up to the light of scripture which plainly tells us that it is the Lord who grows the church, not the "Director of something or another" at a church.

Yes, a church should be involved in church planting, but there is a difference in listening to the Holy Spirit grow a church from the community than in setting up a cookie-cutter representation of themselves (often with shared staff, worship bands, etc.) in a small form of a papacy with a busy pastor that doesn't know his flock at the top of the power pyramid.

Do we really need multiple "campuses"? with names like "The "[Insert name] Church of [Insert your favorite city here], [Insert another city here] Campus"

I think that sometimes people are well-intentioned and fall into the trap of trying to bring about God's will under their own power or for their own gain. Don't get me wrong, I fall into that trap on occasion. Whenever I go on a job interview, I pray for God's will, but admit that it's easy to fall into the trap of trying to will myself on God. "C'mon, God, this would be good..."

Anyway, it seems that we have become a results-only society. Do the ends justify the means? do numbers equate to God's blessing?

The Mormon's have a huge organization, with many seemingly "Christian" people. They live lives that most of us would be envious of (on the surface) yet unless they repent, they are on the fast track to hell.

Speaking of which, what we need is a more Biblical approach to "doing church". We don't need survey-based, market-driven, "our primary 'target' is people 35 and under", culturally relevant and worldy style churches.

I will say that I do like fast food once in a while, but I also know that I cannot have a steady diet of it, because once going down this route, stale reheated meals have a detrimental affect on the body. Likewise, stale reheated, prepackaged meals and experiences based upon personalities aren't good for the body of Christ, either.

There is enough corporate marketing and self-help mumbo-jumbo in the world that we don;t need it seeping into the church poluting what God wants to be Holy and Christ-honoring. We need an honest call to obedience, beginning with repentance for our man-centered ways, so gentlemen, put away your cigars and stop quoting culture, because I'm NOT loving it.

Because Truth matters,


Diana said...


Are you talking to me? Ephs 4:29.
Dude, I love you and occassionaly slip a "not nice" word from the lips of thy mouth but I am working on it you know!

Great post.
Baby, are you having a Big Mac Attack? private joke, but as funny as can be.
Love you
Love me

Wendy said...

Sing it brother!!!!! I of course dislike the word contextualization.