Becoming the Un-cool Church

stpauls

I’m taking a break from my Things I Love series. I figure I’ve earned it after coming up with 1,400 entries. Plus, I’m seriously running out of ideas.

So tonight, I’m writing my own take on the Church, inspired by one or two articles I’ve read (more like skimmed) on Facebook in the past week.

I think too many post-modern churches are trying to hard to be hip and edgy and trendy and forgetting why they’re here. The millennial generation is leaving the Church, as I read in an article, not because they find it too hip, but because they’re not finding Jesus there.

I look at it this way. Churches can be all about having 50 different kinds of coffee and come across as a second-rate Starbucks. No matter how edgy the music, somewhere out there someone is doing it better. Watered-down messages and feel-good theology only work for so long until people run into difficult seasons in their lives and find out that Christianity Lite just doesn’t work.

I’m not against coffee or modern worship music. I’m not even against churches being culturally relevant, though I think I’d personally rather see a church be faithful and committed to Jesus. And if the Church isn’t faithful to Jesus, no matter how relevant it is it will be eternally outdated and obsolete.

The church will always be second-rate at the things it was never called to be, but what it can do better than anyone else– what it has always been called to do– is be a dispenser of grace and a displayer of the love of Jesus. Grace is a uniquely Christian commodity. By that, I mean the grace that turns the other cheek, blesses those who curse them, walks the extra mile, and forgives those who persecute them. It’s the grace that loves enemies and forgives the inexcusable in others because you knows God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. Or so said some British guy with the last name of Lewis.

That kind of radical love and obedience isn’t hip or trendy or cool. It will make you look very foolish in the eyes of pop culture and the media and the rest of the world. They won’t understand it and they will revolt against it (and you). But those who need God’s grace and love the most will be drawn to what they see. Those nearest to God’s heart– the outcast, the downtrodden, the poor in spirit, the nobodies of the world– will find their place in this Kingdom ruled not by dictators and power-mongers, but by Lovers and Servants.

The Un-cool Church just doesn’t talk about Jesus. They think Jesus is the most brilliant Man who ever lived and want more than anything to live out what He taught. Not just have the right answers or the right beliefs, but to actually do what Jesus said to do. All of it.

I still love the motto of a church I used to attend, which goes something like this. “Everyone’s welcome. Nobody’s perfect. Anything’s possible.” My prayer for the church is not another hip club or trendy coffee spot or a Christianized meet market for singles. It’s not a neverending behavior modification seminar. It’s about grace that transforms and love that heals and Jesus doing what only Jesus can do– save.