So what’s your “go-to” emoji? I’ve been using the wide eyed face lately.
I’ve been reading some newer books and articles on how the church needs to change to reach the next generation. Some of the biggest Christian leaders are asking how things need to shift, what do services and programs need to look like, and how can preaching adapt. Even as recently as last week I was watching a major leadership conference and the final speaker shared about church needing to “evolve”. They shared about churches needing to learn to be “accepting”, “culturally relevant”, “creating a dialogue”, “safe spaces to ask questions”, “meeting people where they are”…Insert wide eyed emoji face.
If you go to church with me you probably already know where I am headed. I believe what we are doing at GodWhy is part of what these writers and leaders are looking for – a relevant and uniquely genuine open space for people to explore faith. Where all questions are welcome and we not only “say” we want a dialogue, we seek it while still maintaining our passion for scripture, holding to our convictions and ideals, seeking the Holy Spirit, praying, and worshiping.
Some people look at what we do and how we do it as a fad, just a trend, or some church just trying to be “different”. Some people assume enjoying church = shallow, that if we are using current forms of media weekly we are just out to entertain so we can’t really have any spiritual depth or level of challenge. Some people think we are “anything goes”, assuming we do so to the detriment of the souls we have the privilege of caring for. All reasonable assumptions, and all thoughts I had before attending. But actually, we aren’t trendy at all…just using techniques mapped out a little over 2000 years ago.
Why is overall church attendance declining when Jesus would have hundreds gather to hear him, crowds pushing in just to be around him, sitting for hours?
Why do we listen to music, watch movies and binge on series every week that we love, but then act like they have nothing to say when it comes to the realm of spirituality or divinity?
Why do we preach tolerance rather than intentionally mapping a community designed to promote the practice of tolerance?
Why do we develop catch phrases and slogans that infer faith communities that will “meet people where they are”, but raise our eyebrows when people share their real questions, doubts and struggles?
Why do we give sermons to the same people week after week, telling them what they already know so they can check the church box?
Why do we tell people what to think, what to wear, and how to vote rather than teaching them to think for themselves?
We say we want to do church better. We believe the church should be better. We preach it. We make a logo for it. But do we really examine our own church’s why and how? Are we really in line with the way Jesus ministered as much as we think? How much scripture did Jesus use, and with whom did he speak “scripture” to? What did Jesus use teach? How did Jesus love? Who did Jesus spend most of his time with? What was Jesus’ process for conversion?
Over the next several weeks I would like to share some things we do at GodWhy. For those that attend, maybe you’ve never realized the intentionality of why we do what we do – maybe it will give you fresh new eyes in your own church. If you don’t attend, maybe you’ve had some assumptions, too, and that’s okay, but maybe this could clear some things up.
Regardless, I feel like we need to explain ourselves, because apparently some people out there are asking some great questions about what the church needs to look like in the future, and while I don’t think every church should look like us…but some need to.