Can someone please explain to me very clearly, so my little pea brain can comprehend, WHY a church would need to have a tattoo parlor in it to attract the younger crowd? Hurry, someone tell me because I'm liable to get a migraine trying to figure it out!
What? No one wants to venture a guess because you're as shocked as I am? OK, we'll have to noodle this thing out together then and risk the headache, because I just have to know! According to The Christian Post, The Bridge church in Flint Township, Michigan, has opened the Serenity Tattoo Parlor inside its building. No, no, it's OKI'll get us both a Tylenol.
Reverend Steven Bentley, the pastor of this congregation, feels that the mainstream church has become, "ineffective in reaching the lost in our cultures. The building is just a place, so it really doesn't matter." He states that Christ's community is far more important than the building where the community worships. Bentley added that his ministry is trying to find a way to love everyone, because nowadays, "the church of America is often known for what they are against, rather than what they are for." Well, I can understand his point.
I can just hear, 'Whoa, dude! Now we can go to the Sunday service and get a tattoo all in the same place! How gnarly is that?? I wonder what kind of tattoo Jesus would get'
But wait, there's more! If this church isn't culturally relevant enough for you, check out the Mosaic church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They offer Club Fathom, a Christian nightclub for believers who want to shake their groove thang in a non-secular setting!
And in Great Falls, Montana, the Faith Center Foursquare Church installed a skate park in its youth center which is open to anyone in the community, giving kids a place to visit during the winter. The church's youth pastor, Joey Petty says the purpose for the park is to show the youth that they are, "loved regardless of the choices they have made. When they come in, the premise is, that they were thought about enough that people invested their time, their money and their resources without any strings attached."
What do you mean 'no strings attached?'
Many other churches are also heeding the call to stay 'culturally relevant', offering youth ministry rock bands with techno-themed sermons and I just can't help but suspect these congregations are 'purpose driven.' This stuff goes hand in hand with that theology. Anyway, I suppose all these amusements might have their place but something really disturbs me about all this and it's not just the number of F-bombs you hear the kids dropping!
It is this: NONE of the information I searched through said ANYTHING about these 'culturally relevant' churches attempting to accomplish more for Christ than simply attracting and entertaining young people! OK, so you attracted and entertained them. And after they play a basketball game in the indoor gym and hang out at the coffee bar, then what?
Don't tell me you're too afraid of offending the kids to have them agree that, in exchange for using the facilities, they'll be expected to sit down for 15 minutes at ---o'clock and quietly listen to a short explanation of what Jesus is all about, are you?? Wow, what a drag that would be! Are you kidding me? Hey, that should be the price of admission. No pay, no play!
"Oh my! We mustn't demand any respect or gratitude from the little gangstas because if we do, they might run away." Well, if that's the fear, then what is the point of this extravagant use of the congregation's tithes and offerings? I think (uh-oh!) that perhaps, trying to be 'relevant' to such an extent is doing much more harm than good.
Jesus drove the merchants out of the Temple because what they were doing was worldly and irreverent to God's house. Aren't these churches sort of doing the same thing? The emphasis is exclusively focused on entertainment which is completely irreverent, so any unspoken witness is tainted and ineffective. Kids aren't stupid; they will not respect these churches or pastors if they smell fear on them. Unless the true, gritty gospel is shared with them everyone is simply wasting time and money.
I've never heard of any church funded soup kitchen that serves the homeless hot meals, ever hesitating to preach a short sermon to those taking advantage of the charity they're given. Same principle with food or clothing banks; those items are generally bagged with some type of Christian literature for the lost to take home. The whole purpose of the gift is to, not only give us the opportunity to minister to their physical needs, but to share the way of salvation so they can escape an eternity of hell. So why on earth would it be any different in these got-to-be-trendy churches?
Another concern I have is this; suppose the kids accept Christ because the church lured them with bells and whistles, guitar riffs and light shows. What happens when they realize that being a Christian does not guarantee they'll have a life filled with fun and entertainment? How will they react when they learn that Christ expects them to take up their cross and follow Him? Will they view that as some kind of bait and switch perpetrated by the church? Will they be able to trust the pastors or will the seed of the gospel fall on stony ground and quickly wash away when the inevitable storms of life hit?
Any person, kid or adult, with any common sense should question why they are not being presented with information about God when they come to that fancy church, with its cool programs and awesome laser and fog machines.
If it were me, I would wonder what was up with that! What's the deal? Are they ashamed to talk about God to me? Then why did they spend all that money on this place and why are they here? I thought people in churches were supposed to care about me enough to tell me about the Bible and Jesus! What a bunch of hypocrites! Yeah, this stuff is cool but this is too weird! I'm outta here!
We'd better remember that the bells and whistles might attract people but unless we take time to sit them down and tell them about Jesus; to show them genuine, face to face love and concern, we are failing them and we are failing God. And it would also be a completely unproductive use of a perfectly good coffee bar!
Donna Wasson is all of the following: Married. Mom. Hospice RN. Avid reader. Animal lover. Needing to spread the Gospel while there is still time.