People Want a Church to Be a Church
This week I had a chance to interview Brett McCracken. Brett teaches at Biola and is a keen cultural observer. I’ve always enjoyed his work. He has written two books. The first, Hipster Christianity created quite a splash when it came out. He pushed back against the attempt by the Church to be “cool.” Recently Brett wrote a terrific piece on Millenials for The Washington Post.
Now Brett has a new book out, Gray Matters, where he dives into delicate territory. How does the church handle the “gray areas” of life that are not specifically spelled out in Scripture and how does the Church handle it’s consumption of culture in a way that doesn’t lean to libertinism or legalism?
One of the questions I asked Brett was this one:
Pastors and church leaders wrestle with this question all the time—making decisions on worship styles, programming, and their own personal choices. What advice would you give to church leaders as they seek to navigate the tensions?
I would say that all of those decisions are worth talking about—just not too much. And certainly not at the expense of focusing on what really matters: being a gospel-centered community of worship and discipleship where people feel welcomed and Christ is glorified. I think that pastors and church leaders often assume that people want church to be more than it is. But mostly people just want a church to be a church; to embrace its tradition, the richness of doctrine, sacraments, and life together as a community of Christ-followers. Flashy graphics, smoke machines, high-tech videos, and hip worship leaders may get people in the door, but they are not the things people will stay for. And they are certainly not the things that are going to be transforming peoples’ lives in the long term.