Satisfied and Disturbed

It was great to get to the end of Forge today – they don’t call them intensives for nothing!

It was a brilliant time full of quality input and real challenge. I feel disturbed on a number of fronts. I can only imagine how people feel who rolled up there for the first time. I remember that experience – its as if the rug gets swept from under the feet. Disorienting, disturbing, and yet incredibly exciting. What now?…

I have already reflected on my main experiences, however there was one more today that was also significant.

Read on if you dare…

At Forge we are careful to affirm that church as we know it caters for one section of the population – somewhere between 7-15% of Aussies actually like the typical Sunday gig. I have always tried to be a ‘both / and’ person rather than an ‘either / or’. I don’t mind a fight if I need to have one, but I have always felt we need many kinds of churches and I love my brothers in the established churches. I will avoid fighting with them as much as I can.

Here’s the problem though… As Steve McAlpine presented today on the whole idea of how much we value ‘cool’ in our society – so much that churches doing attractional stuff are actually trying to be ‘cool/funky/relevant’, Dave asked the question, ‘if we the way we attract people to church is by being cooler than the church down the street then have we actually compromised the gospel? Christianity is not about being cool – we do not follow Jesus to be cool. But if we are trying to make church a cool place to be then are we subverting the very gospel we call people to?’

I think he is on to something…

But… Then… by implication are ‘attractional’ churches with an emphasis on bigger and better actually a contradiction to the gospel?

And if so then is there a place for the attractional church?…

That’s a different question to asking ‘is there a place for the established (and boring) church?’ Because its asking should we seek to ‘cool up’ our church services to pull the punters or is that actually a form of syncretism?

I reckon Dave was onto something. I am not sure what to do with it, but we can’t have it both ways.

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