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Devotionals

NAR In-Fighting -- The "Relevant" Church vs. the "Cool Church"

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"That said, being relevant and making an impact must include more than being cool. "Cool church" is not enough. Being relevant is more than sexy lights and haze machines. A great guitar solo no longer reaches the average churchgoer. There must be more. The modern-day church cannot resemble something from the past. Cookie-cutter services fail to engage the human heart. As believers and leaders in the Christian faith, we must pay attention to our stale methods and take action to be relevant to the next generation." -- Thomas McDaniels

A great guitar solo no longer reaches the average churchgoer? When did it ever? Now, I agree that cool church is not the answer but there is no real difference between relevant church and cool church. The dichotomy McDaniels is presenting simply does not exist. The logic the cool church uses for seeking their "coolness" is to try and be relevant! Here is the problem with this purpose driven NAR theology. Their assumption is that if the number of church attendance declines, then the methods must be stale and need to be changed. That we must alter how God designed His church to suit a newer generation. Except God and the Gospel transcend all generations and cultures. The same Gospel that saved the third century serf saved the 17-century painter and it also saved me. The Gospel does not need to be made cool by the world's standards or relevant to a dying culture. It just needs to be preached. If the Gospel does not engage the human heart it is because the heart is wickedly deceitful above all else. Seeds however are always planted and most times, we do not see the harvest of our efforts. I first said the "sinner's prayer" in 1998 but was not saved until 2002. It was not that the presentation of the Gospel was not cool or relevant in 1998, it is that I was not yet convicted of my sin. The next generation of goats do not need us to try and figure out what they deem as being carnally "cool" or relevant. They just need to hear the Gospel and be drawn by the Holy Spirit. Outside of pastoral staff to disciple them, there does not need to be anything more than that.

"God has given the church remarkable creative ideas to reach this generation. We must also seek new biblical methods without losing the relevance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The test for most churches is the willingness to set aside what is obsolete. We must also discover practical tools and take new risks in reaching our cities. The gospel message of Jesus Christ is the greatest impression to impart to every generation. And that will never change." -- Thomas McDaniels

Gods has given us no such thing. He has given us the Gospel and instructed us to preach it uncompromisingly. Once again, because goats do not respond to the Gospel does not mean it is obsolete. The risk is always the same. Preaching the Gospel will either be accepted or it will not. Yet heaven rejoices when one sinner repents and that is what we live for! The Gospel message is not something to "make an impression." It is the only thing with the power of God unto the salvation of man. It alone can save a person. Not oratory skills, flagging ministries, smoke machines, disco lights, some obscure sense of relevance, some hip sense of coolness, programs, promotions or marketing campaigns. Nothing but the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ. Seek that. Teach that. Leave all of this purpose driven, seeker friendly, relevant coolness on the ash heap of church history where it belongs.

Rev. Anthony.

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