Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Timeless Experience

I saw the following ad description, recently, on Google,"Discover a new church experience, Modern Music-Life changing teaching."

I suppose such an ad appeals to some people, but what does is say to the unchurched/non-Christian population? I think such an ad will attract the "bored with church as usual" crowd. It may even draw a few unchurched people. Is it the same old church experience with a new twist, or is it something totally new and radical? Is there really any such thing as a "new church experience" from a Biblical standpoint?

Let me say that the church does need to do something different. But new? If, in this ad, the advertiser means simply a new, relevant way of looking at the timeless truths of Scripture and how to be the church, as opposed to going to church, then it may be a good ad. But, if they are really saying, "We're newer and more modern than the church down the road" then they are merely interested in drawing a crowd. But from where? What will they do with people who come for the new experience, modern music and life changing reaching? Will they disciple them and send them out, or keep them in and entertain them, pass the collection plate, start new programs, etc? After awhile the "new experience" will become the "church as usual experience" and the crowd of forever searching church hoppers will move on to the next "new experience."

I think people need something deeper than the next new experience. I think this is why many people have left the institutional church and why church membership nationwide is continuing to decline. I know that I, for one, am searching for something deeper. It won't be found in the church building, the programs, the "new experience, modern music and life changing teaching," well, perhaps in the life changing teaching (depending on how it is presented). What I'm searching for can and will be found in an ever-growing relationship with the living, triune God.If the church with the "new experience, modern music and life changing teaching" is committed to this end; that is, raising up an army of Christ followers who love God and their neighbors, and then sending them out to turn the world upside down, then it doesn't matter how they package their brand of church.
What will draw the unchurched? The Holy Spirit. I'm all for being relevant and with the times. I'm a huge fan of the internet and the social media fetish that seems to be sweeping across the globe. But, we still need to connect with people on a personal level, and then connect them with Christ, on a personal level.
I think I'll call this the "Timeless Experience."