I’m not even sure how to start out this blog. Oh…I guess that did the trick. I guess I should warn you that this is going to be an honest post about some thoughts I have on my mind. I know as a pastor’s wife, I can’t share everything on my mind publicly without having to rack my brain about how I might offend someone or get my husband in trouble 🙂 P.S. I think that’s sad, but unfortunately necessary. So here goes…
In church today, a good friend of ours, Brent, was teaching on Nehemiah 6 and pulled out a verse that I had never caught before but have not been able to stop thinking about. 2 Corinthians 11:3 says
“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ”.
Maybe this verse hit me harder because my husband is in vocational ministry so church to us is more than just being able to attend, or maybe its because I am a woman and we are notorious for making things more complex than they need to be (ok maybe that’s just me) but I’m consumed with these words of Paul. After church the high school team had a meeting and we ended up talking a lot about distractions that teenagers face, not just in life, but even while sitting in church. We contemplated how we can reach 14-18 year old kids growing up in Orange County, the mecca of entertainment and distraction. We discussed how we can title messages better to grab attention, how we can convince kids to serve hoping that develops deeper relationships with Christ, and what the heck to do with the kids who grew up in church and know every answer to every question. I started to get very overwhelmed with this list of things WE need to DO to make kids get it so that they come out of their complacency and into “life to the full”. This got me thinking on a tangent that I think is running rampant in churches today. I’m not quite sure how to word this, so bear with me.
I’m kind of frustrated with pastors and church leadership having to be so consumed with making church “better” through means of new technology, state-of-the-art soundboards, big screens with sweet graphics, cutting edge programs to draw people in and grab their attention. My heart is pounding as I write this because I know all the arguments made for these things and a lot of those arguments sound pretty reassuring. However, I almost feel like these things are being used to embellish Christ and that just isn’t sitting right with me today. I know I didn’t articulate exactly how I feel in that last sentence so maybe the more I type, it will come to me.
One of the rebuttals to what I just said is that we are in a generation of technology and HD everything, so the church needs to be a place that is leading the way in that area and remain relevant to our culture. But didn’t Jesus’ ministry go against the culture? Does Christ really need us to remain relevant through “things”? (Remember, these are just my thoughts and not meant to start an argument…I’m trying to filter!). To be honest, I wish church could be the one last place people could go to and escape screens and sounds. Paul tells us that we can and probably will be seduced away from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. Don’t those words just make you take a deep breath and believe again that you can do this whole Christian thing? That things don’t have to be so programmed? I think if we asked everyone sitting in the seats at our churches if they would rather be entertained and awed by the church or rather be known intimately and cared for by the people who make up the church….most would probably choose the latter and the rest of them might be too scared to be known that closely that their ok with just being entertained.