It is difficult to find a more controversial subject among today’s Christians than the “cool church”. Is it acceptable for a church to be confused for a bar? Is it permissible for pastors to use coarse, street language? Should the church speak the world’s language to convert the world into church? These important questions demand answers. If they are unclear to us, we will soon be swallowed by the “cool church”. Although it is not my intent, I am prepared to step on some toes with this post.
If you were an enemy of the Church and was committed to its destruction, how would you go about it? If you were to bring it down, would it not be an advantage to carry out this mission quietly? How about allowing it to exist, and even flourish, but changing its goals, methods and identity? Wouldn’t the goal be accomplished if a church hardly resembled what it was intended to be, yet falsely thought that it was a model of Christ’s Church? Would it not be ideal if the church was swallowed by the surrounding world, but continued to think that the world had been absorbed into the church? Unfortunately, the enemy has been effective.
There is a new type of church quickly taking roots in our day. It is the church that is tailored to the demand of the consumer. Since the consumers are becoming less and less interested in the original church invented by Christ, the new church adapts to their taste. This mutated church gives the new generation a balanced combination of the world and the church. It gives them what they want from the world and the peace of mind that comes from Christ. This is the theft of church identity.
It is striking how one can claim to be a follower of Christ, yet misunderstand His plan for His disciples. Jesus prays to His Father, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17)
An article that will help you understand the phenomenon of the “Hipster Church” can be found here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/september/9.24.html?start=1
In the next couple of posts, my intent is to zero in from a general tendency in the church landscape to a more specific expression of this problem. There is a group of churches that prefer to cover up their flirting with the world by a highly evangelical term. They are the “Missional Church”.
Before we come back to briefly summarize the errors of this movement, it would help if you listened to two messages that seek to explain it. Much more should be said than what can fit into our format here.
Please listen to Jesse Johnson as he helps us understand the theological errors behind the “Missional Church”. This is a recording from Shepherd’s Conference 2011: http://www.shepherdsconference.org/media/details/?mediaID=5989
This is a recording of the sermon I preached to “Upstream Youth Ministry” to help us deal with the “New Church”, covering not only theology but also their philosophy and methods of ministry. …
When we come back we will seek to identify the deviations that the “Missional Church” allows from the teaching of the Bible on church, and understand the consequences that follow these errors.