I had mindlessly scrolled over a particular tweet the other morning, tiredly looking down my timeline, that didn’t catch my attention until I saw another post about it. What caught my eye was the eye-roll inducing tag line, “Should we make church cool?”. An immediate irritation stirred inside of me. I was quick to judge unfortunately, and began diving into the article with a negative mindset, expecting yet another progressive pseudo-Christian-like text trying to appeal to the masses.
The article does bring up some good points. Newer churches popping up in the US have increasingly gone down the more modernized path, in all aspects. Younger pastors, edgier bands, with an overall modern atmosphere. Should people focus so much on modernizing our churches? Is this a ploy to reach a younger crowd, or just a less traditional one?
Hillsong NYC, one of the many branches of the Hillsong church in Australia, was founded by Hillsong’s Pastor Brian Houston’s son Joel, and his college Carl Lentz. A description, almost review-like article, was written from an outsider looking in, describing the church as “cool”. She liked the atmosphere in the building, she liked the social aspect of it, but I wasn’t getting any reactions form what was actually being taught at the church.
Pastor Lentz added a few comments to the article, saying that he does not identify with being “cool” and does not seek out strategies to become “cooler”. His idea was that he wanted to reach out to as many people as he can, and have a wide range audience in who attends his church.
Some churches unfortunately, have a “celebrity VIP” section, exclusive seating and private area for celebrities alone to go and sit. Is this right? My mind is leaning more towards a big, NO. In these kinds of churches, their marketing strategy screams “we are the church for celebrities! We are the cool kids of the Christian world, come to us!” which is entirely untrue, and they have missed the mark big time on what church is all about. They spend millions of dollars on unnecessary things, when I believe the church should focus on spending money towards missions, and more important activities than flat screen tv’s.
My church has undergone some cosmetic reconstruction as well. We have not only added in a new contemporary service with a live band, and new media technology, but we have also kept our traditional service, with our original choir and ensemble, and regular practices that we have done for years. I believe that there is no harm in trying to revamp a church’s style, no harm in trying to implement new ways to get people come to church. It should be encouraged for churches to look into how to bring in more people.
However, the ultimate goal we seek is not to make our church “cooler”. Our goal, as a church, should continue to simply, spread the word of Christ, teach the word of Christ, and act upon the word of Christ.