The writing is on the wall. Churches that are still trying to decide if the worship styles of the 1980s are viable have already lost the potential for a future. Churches clinging to painful “blended” worship styles – a mix of the old stuff and the new – trying to keep everyone happy, actually are not making anyone happy, and the world is voting with its feet. In a generation where many churches are closing their doors for the last time, there are a few more in the queue, clinging to endowments and a legacy that is not life-giving.
The time to change is yesterday.
Don’t buy the nonsense about how there is a rising generation of Millennials who really want the old stuff. No there isn’t. There are a couple of bloggers who are not leading effective churches who are trying to forward that idea because they are resentful of the effectiveness of modern, evangelical megachurches. One of the most popular of these authors is a woman who belongs to a dying mainline Protestant tradition and admittedly doesn’t attend church. Another is a traditional worship director at a small Southern church that is fighting for its existence, just as he is fighting for his job directing the choir.
Attend a modern church that is growing and baptizing adults. Look at what they’re
doing. The fact that the world has already changed is obvious to everyone except those who really don’t want it to. And that population is sometimes willing to tear down a church to prevent the evolution.
The writing is on the wall. The choices are radical change or slow death. The only voice that counts in the decision is the voice of Jesus. Jesus described himself as the shepherd who would live 99% of the sheep who were safe to go looking for the 1% that is lost. How many churches does that describe? Jesus hung out with prostitutes at the risk of the slander of being one who went to prostitutes. He hung out at the parties of the blue-collar crowd at the risk of being called a drunk. And he trashed the Temple that had turned away from God at the risk of crucifixion.
I spend a fair amount of time with people who don’t go to church and who don’t know the story of Jesus. Churches that exist for the mission of Jesus are doing the same. Those churches are listening to the questions of outsiders and building around their needs. Of all the values a church might hold, loving the lost in Jesus’ name should be the first among equals. To do anything less is to deny the gospel.