Through a glass darkly

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)KJV

Friday, May 26, 2006

Megachurch Mania

I was reading Christianity Today's Weblog which linked to this AP article about how mainline churches are emulating (or at least trying to) evangelical megachurches. What stands out as the "lessons learned" that the mainlines take away and adopt is not the theology of the megas, but the furnishings, the worship styles, the incoporation of technology - as if those were all they needed for church growth. Even more distressing is the opposition that the more traditional members express towards these changes eventhough their churches were on the edge of death had they done nothing. (We have folks like that in my church too.) It all this emphasis on the packaging of the product(in this case, the Gospel) rather than the product itself, that rubs me wrong.
Of course, non-mainline evangelical churches that think just changing music styles or rearranging the furniture will solve their attendance problems are just as deceived. I'm not against any of the changes-we should utilize every means possible to help communicate God's truth. For me, incorporating contemporary elements into our church services has a missiological purpose. If we went to a foreign land, it would be extremely arrogant to insist that the people adopt American culture, dress and language as conditions of their being able to hear the Gospel message. Yet for many churches they do just that, they insist that unchurched visitors dress like them, sing songs written for their grandparent's generation and sit facing forward in rows of pews; talk about cultural arrogance. But taking a bit of liberty with Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 13: "If I play contemporary worship music, and use a video projector to display words but don't have love, I'd be making meaningless noise like a car alarm going off all night." The "stuff" is not the point -it's a means, not an end.
For a humorous, albeit all-too true view of the megas view this youtube clip.


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