Have you ever been to a Christian event like a party or concert and been bored stiff? Have you ever looked around and thought, “What in the world is going on here?” You recognize all the parts of the event — the food, the music, the people, the activities — but the Christian event just seems… odd?
Why is this?
When the Church Follows Worldly Cues
I think part of it is that we are taking our cues from the world.
We look at the world to see what they do for fun, then we take out everything we perceive as “sinful” and then try to do this stripped down version as a “Christian event.” We hope that if we do things that the world enjoys, maybe they will come join us.
These Christianized versions of worldly events are pitiful attempts to attract unbelievers to Christ.
Of course, what we fail to realize, is that for most unbelievers, the things that make the event “fun” are the sinful things we have stripped out — the alcohol, the sexuality, the secular music, and other such elements.
The world is not fooled by Christian attempts to copy the world. They wonder why we even bother.
The choices then are two, and I actually think we see Jesus doing both.
If the Church Can’t Beat Them…
First, rather than compete with the worldly events, we can just join them.
Rather than have our own party, minus the alcohol, sexuality, dancing, and secular music, why not just go attend theirs?
That’s right: Go to the bar. Go to the club. Go hang out where the smoke is thick and the language is course.
Being there doesn’t mean you have to participate in all the activities, and besides, going to where the people are is more incarnational than asking them to come to where you are.
The Church that Leads the World
Second, any Christian events that we host should be in areas where we don’t have to copy the world, but can lead the world.
Our Christian events should focus on issues of justice, compassion, mercy, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, grace, and sacrifice. The world has these things as well, but there is often an element of greed and power mixed in.
So these are the Christian events the church can host, and show the world how to do it right. Of course, we would then have to give up our aspirations for money and power… but that is another topic.