Rapidly changing times
Should the Church change at all?
Are we relying on gadgets and technology to attract and keep the crowds?
Things are changing so rapidly.
Or should we stick to our traditions?
TV Commercials tells us:
- new improved
- new ways
- new methods
- new discoveries
- new breakthroughs
- new records broken
- new and better techniques
- smaller, better, and more compact gadgets
- super improved products, etc.
How much of this has come into our Christian thinking?
We are told that we are in an ever-changing society.
The old ways are out of date, we’ve got to have new methods, and better techniques.
Does the Church need to modernise or keep doing it the older way?
Some people will be violently opposed to such change, others insist that we are failing God if we don’t use all the latest things.
Who is right?
We want to put across the Christian Faith in such a way that people will stop and listen.
Also, that they will, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be enabled to understand it.
But the way we ‘present’ this is an area for disagreements.
Message and method
The first thing to do is to sort out what is the message and what is the method.
Our Gospel message (which is the message of the whole Bible – the whole counsels of God) does not change.
Our methods may change to relate to a society that is very different from a few centuries ago, and even from a few decades ago.
Christians are using the Internet as a means of reaching out to people, which is good.
‘Power Point’ is used to give more visual presentations which can either enhance the speakers points, or be a total distraction to what the speaker is saying! (I expect we have all experienced both of these).
Sound effects and different lighting with audio and visual effects can be used.
Also drama and dancing is not uncommon.
Worship, or presenting the gospel, or both
The second thing to do at our Church events is to sort out whether we are having an act of worship, or an event which will be aimed at non-Christians.
I’m not saying it is wrong to have unbelievers in a worship service (From my own experience, I discovered the reality of Christians singing hymns in worship to God in a small chapel and it was at this point that I was really challenged to believe in Him).
I am saying that we need to be aware of what our aim is, otherwise it becomes a confusing mishmash of worship, presentations, special effects, etc.
I believe we need to be careful not to go too far into giving ‘presentations’ when it is a time for worship.
Otherwise the danger is that people will ‘watch’ rather than worship, or follow everyone else in copying their actions without the heart being involved in worship.
Technology at Church events
Technology is brilliant if it is used well and helps to fulfil the aim of the event.
Quite often technology can sit very uncomfortably within a service if it has just been pushed into it.
There is a need for someone to stand back and rationally look at it.
There is also a danger with technology to put the methods on a higher level of importance than the message itself.
If the technology is offered as the initial attraction without a good message, the people will come for the technology until there is a bigger and better place to go to.
If it becomes the focal point it can lead to a lot of hype with no substance.
Technology is not wrong in itself, but it must point towards Jesus Christ.
How many people hang onto traditional formats because that is a ‘safe’ place for them?
The congregation know what is going to happen next.
That may be okay, provided we aren’t putting God in a box and dictating to Him what happens.
In services like this, enthusiasm and emotion can be frowned upon. To challenge that stance, listen to what Jesus said:
You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.”Luke 7:45
Is enthusiasm in church services centred on God?
It’s good to have enthusiastic people, but we need to remember this:
It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.”Proverbs 19:2
It is not good to create excited people without a foundation of Biblical knowledge.
Without the latter the work won’t be strong and won’t last into eternity.
In an atmosphere of huge enthusiasm it can be difficult to question what is going on, because it can be seen that the zeal is being quenched.
But remember a zeal without knowledge is dangerous.
True knowledge is getting a balanced understanding of the Bible, which creates true and everlasting zeal.
See this article: A return to early Church worship? Worship part 2
Or this article: Church leadership problems – choosing authentic leaders