I got a mailer from another church the other day. The pitch for the church assured me that they were not my parent’s church. The flyer was full of pictures of young adults and families and assured me that both the music and message of the pastor would be relevant. And I was annoyed.
I thought that this kind of pitch was over a while ago. It was very popular in my area for a while and I was glad when it stopped showing up in mailbox. Why am I annoyed? Am I merely a grumpy traditionalist who doesn’t like change? Am I opposed to being relevant? You’ll have to ask Donna to be sure, but I don’t think I’m grumpy or opposed to being relevant.
Here’s why I think their approach is not healthy:
- There appears to be no discernment as to what is kept and what is discarded. Every biblical church today stands on the foundation of former generations who gave us the faith we profess today. My parent’s church professed the true faith and I want to be like them! A new generation that starts from scratch will find itself in a theological morass that it could have avoided by standing on the shoulders of the saints who have gone before it.
- Newest is not necessarily better. Living in the Silicon Valley there is that thinking that if you are using technology that is a generation old you are outdated. But there is a difference between technology and theology and church practice. New is not bad but it must be better for the church to adopt it.
- Many new churches appear to be designed for twenty and thirty somethings. The danger is that a church devoid of middle age and senior adults will, by its very nature, be ripe for trouble. The church is designed by Christ to be multigenerational. Younger Christians need the seniors who have lived the Christian life for many years to lead them. Young pastors need older elders to give them wise direction and counsel. In too many churches this is missing.
Every congregation should be asking itself how it can better communicate the unchanging gospel to a changing world. If a local church looks like it did thirty years ago, it is probably stagnant or dying. But the answer is not to scrape everything from the past. Nor is it to intentionally start a church that has none of those pesky experienced Christians who may not think newer is always better.
I’ll pray for the new church in my community. We need more good churches in San Jose. I will also pray for them because I am fearful they will soon discover the value of us “old guys” when they plow ahead with little experience.