Brett McCracken names examples of various ways that churches try to be ‘cool’ and ‘relevant’:
- Quote and reference cultural icons during sermons (e.g. Stephen Colbert and Lady Gaga)
- Sponsor the screening of the R-rated movies
- Give the pastor a metrosexual makeover, with skinny jeans and a $80 haircut
- Insist on trendy eco-friendly paper and helvetica-only fonts on all printed materials
- Hold a worship service in a bar or nightclub
- Stream online church services
- Encourage texting, Twitter and iPhone interaction with the pastor during the service
- Shock people with sex-themed marketing gimmicks (e.g. sermon titles like “Biblical Oral Sex”)
- Worship with indie-rock music
“But are these gimmicks really going to bring young people back to church? Is this what people really come to church for? Maybe sex sermons and indie- rock worship music do help in getting people in the door, and maybe even in winning new converts. But what sort of Christianity are they being converted to?”
“‘And the further irony,’ he adds, ‘is that the younger generations who are less impressed by whiz-bang technology, who often see through what is slick and glitzy, and who have been on the receiving end of enough marketing to nauseate them, are as likely to walk away from these oh-so-relevant churches as to walk into them.’
If the evangelical Christian leadership thinks that ‘cool Christianity’ is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken. As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don’t want cool as much as we want real.
If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it’s easy or trendy or popular. It’s because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It’s because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It’s not because we want more of the same.”
I agree very much with McCracken, and I don’t think it is necessary to do any of those 9 things above in order to attract young people, but what’s wrong with #4?
Any comments or thoughts?
P.S. I just realized I might very well be a “Bookish Intellectual” Christian hipster. What do I do now? =P