Hidden messages sent by the American church

Think Christian recently posted this: Think Christian » Blog Archive » Hidden messages sent by the American church Which is a link to a series of articles posted by Cerulean Sanctum. It is a very interesting read.

While I may not totally agree with what Dan Edelen has to stay, it does bring up the important point of how we must look at ourselves through a biblical filter. Does what we are doing in church fit the biblical model or does it just make us happy as humans?

The most interesting piece of the series was Kneeling at the Altar of Excellence. This is something I see in my church. I started attending my church about 9 months after it was planted 8 years ago. For me the appeal of the church was how real it was. It had a band that played contemporary music, and a pastor who is close to my age. The first time my wife and I attended, the entire staff (Pastor, Associate Pastor and Music Director) had introduced themselves. The next time we attended, all three of them remembered us by name. This was not the only thing that made me comfortable there. My church was and still is meeting in a temporary facility. This means the church has to be set up and torn down every week. It also means there is more room for odd things to happen. I find that the occasional screech of a feedback loop in the sound system or the words to the songs being projected were not always right on had more of an endearing affect on me. When the pastor tells corny jokes or can’t remember the names of popular people or even says “Um” every once in a while, I know I am in the right place. These people are not perfect, and I have a chance to fit in.

Recently there has been a big push for the “excellence” thing. I can’t think of anything that makes me want to run away from the church faster. I see nothing wrong with “doing our best”, but I have a huge problem with pushing away willing volunteers because they “lack talent.” I do my best to shield the other volunteers in my ministry from this. My ministry is the Video Technologies, we put the words of the songs on the screen, run PowerPoint for the pastors message notes and play video clips. And guess what, sometimes thing go wrong. I used to worry about it until I attended a Promise Keepers event and saw them be off on the words to a song. That is were I learned that perfection isn’t all it was cracked up to be.

I think this was a key point:

The inroads that business practices made into our churches through the Church Growth Movement have enshrined success as the be all and end all. The only problem is that now there is no room for true grace for the fallen. Just as a company can’t go to shareholders and confess they had a bad quarter without paying the penalty, so our churches are becoming places where failure isn’t tolerated for very long.