Tuesday, April 22, 2008

POP Goes the Church

I mentioned this book last week, in it, Tim Stevens, looks at reasons why church attendance has decreased and at the same time there are more spiritual conversations. He is looking more at pop culture. Stevens believes the church should begin to use its power to influence this culture. The church should help others to know they matter and are loved by God.

The following is from the introduction, which I have copied and pasted ~

"Would your community be any different if your church disappeared tomorrow? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Have you ever considered it with others at your church? If your church suddenly disappeared, could the community even recover? Or would they go on as though nothing at all had changed?

What is happening at your church that is worth talking about? When people leave your service, are they thinking about the e-mails they need to send and the football game they want to watch—or are they thinking deeply about their own choices and thinking how they might make a difference in someone's life this week?

Sadly, for most of us, the answer is a resounding “no.” We didn't even have to think that long about the answer. Our church is great for our friends, our family, and us, but there is little measurable impact on the community. There is little happening that is making a difference outside of the few dozen or couple hundred who regularly attend.

Wouldn't it be great if a local church had a vision big enough to capture people's hearts and motivate them to action, so it had an impact on the community? Wouldn't it be awesome if a church was so effective people began following Jesus, growing in their faith, and as a result, the community was being loved and served?

I love the way John 1:14 is written in The Message. It says Christ “became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” He came to us—met us where we were. In Jesus' case, the neighborhood was a rural, agricultural society in first century Palestine. He immersed himself in that culture. He wore the clothes, used the language, and illustrated his stories with the signs and symbols of the day to communicate the Gospel of an upside down kingdom here on earth.

If Jesus physically entered twenty-first century America, I believe he would do much as he did in the first century. He would hang out with normal people in the real world, and he would reserve his strongest words for the entrenched religious leaders who love their traditions more than they love their people. I believe he expects no less from us.

The goal of Pop Goes the Church is to stretch your thinking. If you have bought into the belief that church is exclusively for building up the believers, I want you to reconsider. If you think a church service cannot help believers grow AND be attractive to non-believers, I want to convince you that it can. If you have never experienced a church service that stays true to the Bible AND is comfortable for your non-religious friends and you don't think it is even possible, I want you to explore the possibility. The community around you is dying without Jesus, and it is your God-ordained duty to wrestle until you find the best way to reach them. And once you do, don't apologize."

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