Monday, May 05, 2008

Pop Goes the Church

There is a really interesting discussion going on recently about Tim Stevens book Pop Goes the Church. Tim is the executive pastor at Granger Community Church in Indiana. Granger is known for their innovation in methodology. You can check out a video clip from their Easter Service here. Or watch it below.

The big question is this: Should the Church embrace the Culture in its ministry, or should the Church reject the culture. Collide's next issue deals with this subject. (This is their latest cover.)

For a really good look at the discussion check out the comments over at A Little Leaven. There are people on both sides chiming in.

What do you think about using "Secular" music in the "Sacred" service? Does your church play U2 or Coldplay or Madonna or Bon Jovi in it's services? What do you think about using these songs as tools to convey a message or as an illustration? Would this be any different than Paul quoting a secular poet in the scripture?

Here's two good quotes from opposite sides from the "A Little Leaven" Website...

When "evangelism" in the form of "decisions for Christ" become the litmus test of a church's faithfulness/success, the end product will always be an emasculated Gospel and a Life Coach Jesus. We so often neglect actually discipling and training-up one another in righteousness and real knowledge of the Word in favor of speaking some infomercial-like Gospel, and the result is a generation of aenemic "christians". Rather than proclaiming a complete Gospel, we focus on some of the potential aspects of the outworking of salvation in a person's life and make THAT the Gospel instead.

"Here, try Jesus and you won't be 'lonely'! You'll have a purpose for your life! You've been looking for love? Well, God IS Love! Try Him today for free and if you're unsatisfied, just return the unused portion and we'll give you DOUBLE your money back! You can even keep the bookstore certificate and 'I heart Jesus' travel mug as our gift to you!"

And from the other point of view...

I would venture to say that Tim and his team have prayed with more people to accept Christ as a substitutionary atonement for their sins than many of us ever will.

Why don't you checkout his doctrine, not his strategy, and then write comments like these. Sad that "Christians" want to rip other Christians when they should be finding men of like doctrine who can help reach different people through different styles.

What do you think?



6 comments:

Travis Penn said...

I don't think it's any coincidence that when I started reading my devotions tonight the passage was John 2 where Jesus clears the temple.

16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.”

When we make the church into a business, selling love, hope, good marriages & happiness are we making God's house a house of trade?

If the modern church feeds a "consumer" mindset, does that mean it is breaking this command of our Lord?

Lots to think about here.

Scott Cheatham said...

Interesting thoughts. I've known of Tim's ministry for years and read all of his books. This is an area where I've given considerable thought and wondered aloud if using secular music in our services is acceptable.

Personally, I couldn't do it. Largely because we work to keep our worship celebration to one hour and the songs we program need to be songs that will prepare people's hearts for the message. If you factor in any other elements such as a special scriptural reading, drama, or anything else, that takes away from the amount of time you have to sing.

For our mission work, we have 4-5 songs prior to the preaching and a time of reverent reading of the scripture. That leaves me about 25 minutes to preach if we want to have time for an altar call, final song, and closing prayer, to finish in one hour.

I'm not so much against Tim's thoughts, as I am for doing what I feel is important for those I lead. There are many great things we can program into a church to meet the cultural needs of the people around us. We don't have to limit it to ONLY the hour of worship.

Scott Cheatham
Denver, Colorado
www.scottcheatham.com

Travis Penn said...

"There are many great things we can program into a church to meet the cultural needs of the people around us. We don't have to limit it to ONLY the hour of worship."

That is an excellent point! We have lots of opportunities to interact in creative ways with the people we lead besides the one hour on Sunday Morning.

Crystal said...

We've never used Madonna but we have used Barbara Steisand, Neil Diamond and Patsy Cline in our services. What does that say about us?

Travis Penn said...

So basically your church embraces culture, just not in the current decade.

:)

Jeff Myers said...

My favorite order of service (we mix it up from week to week) is to open with a song or two - could be secular or Christian. Then the sermon. Then worship (4-5 songs) in response to the sermon. It takes on a feel of "We just heard from God, now let's praise him for the Word He's given us."

In that model, a lot of times it makes sense to incorporate a secular song at the beginning. It becomes more of a sermon illustration than anything else. Plus, on the more pragmatic end of the spectrum you need a song or two to allow time for all the late-comers to finally stroll in.

Jeff