I’ve been reading Jared Wilson’s Gospel-Driven Church blog for a few weeks now, and I’ve got to say that I think I am a kindred spirit with this guy. I love his rants. Every time he writes one, I just resonate with him. Here are a few choice quotes from 3 different posts on his blog:
If you’re going to exert copious amounts of energy and resources to bedazzle and impress with lights and loud music and elaborate sets and flashing video and fog machines and glossy promos and Guy Smiley spokespeople and performed sermons, if you’re going to usher people into a showy atmosphere of spiritual entertainment, how dare you then tell them to put down their guard, “open up,” share their hearts. If you’re going to create a culture of impressive facades, how dare you request their “authenticity.”
This pitting of “real” against “lame” ones is spiritually bankrupt dreck from the pit of hell. The guy on the right calls himself “authentic,” and the people who made these clearly have no clue what “authentic” means. For them, as for most pomo em-church poseurs, it means “cool.” Do you see what they’re doing here? They are saying the “authentic” Christian is the cool one. That’s why the dude on the left has on a nerdy suit and has limp hair.
They could have made a statement about grace vs. works, and under the idiocy, I suppose it might be there, but what they are really doing is mocking fellow believers. We are the cool ones, we are the ones who have it figured out. Plus we have product in our hair.
This has got to stop. This cult of the cool in the church must stop. This fetishizing of hipness must stop. It is idolatry.
And the reality of it is, when you walk into one of these so-called “authentic” churches, you just get the same ol’ works religion. Look at the sermon titles and message points. It’s all about principles and steps and tips to what-not and hoo-ha. It’s just the same behavioristic gospel . . . only cooler.
That’s not authentic. That’s works religion.
This is reverse pharisaism. It really is. “I thank you God that I’m not like that lame, religious retard over there.”
This is just symptomatic of the consumerist, self-centered, behavioristic, culture-driven lunacy passing for ministry today. It is an anti-gospel, and it is the spirit of the anti-christ at work.
This stuff is really innovative! It is completely “outside the box”! Implementing some of these radical approaches to church ministry and programming may be risky and controversial, but they may just revolutionize the spirit of your congregation and take your ministry to the next level.
1. Sing hymns.
2. Preach through a book of the Bible.
3. Talk about sin.
4. Celebrate the Lord’s Supper more frequently.
5. Have a Scripture reading in the service.
6. Transition creative content from aping popular commercials and other media to creating your own, wholly original content.
7. Read, study, and teach theology.
8. Put as much effort and resources into men’s ministry as you do women’s. On the flipside, pair up younger women with wise, older women in mentoring relationships with the same conviction you have about men being in accountability and mentoring partnerships.
9. Hire from within.
10. In promotional material, use actual photos of actual people in your community.
11. Preach the Gospel.
Amen Jared. Amen.