I am through with "cool" church. It has taken me so long to come to that conclusion. Every time church leaders are in a conference, seminar, or just visiting over coffee, the subject of how to make our ministries more cool always comes up. The ideas of modern technology begin to permeate the levels of communication. Use of videos, screens, lights, sets constructed for sermon series, worship leaders in jeans, drums, smoke machines, ATMs, data ports in the pews, WIFI, elephants, Carrot Top doing comedy, and others aspects have become this generation's talk of how to conduct church.
Utilizing modern tech support in presenting the Gospel message is always wonderful. God has gifted this generation with a vast array of weaponry in order to reach the ones outside of the Kingdom stockholders. The reason I am done with "cool" is because in so many instances nowadays, "cool" has replaced Christ. AND, my friends that are outside the faith or have been hurt by religion seem to criticize the worldly relevance of church services as opposed to what their hearts long for...just Jesus.
Creating atmospheres with lights and sound and basing that importance as higher than the power of God is the cardinal sin of our Church generation. People in today's world are desperately reaching, not just upward, but backward. As one friend of mine said recently, "I can go to a concert anytime I want. IF I do go to church, I want Jesus."
Tullian Tchividjian says in his book, Unfashionable, "It's not that the Church is culturally out of touch; it's that we are theologically out of tune." I realize this because I have tried to get into the "cool" mode, and I fell flat. I have even tried to strike up relationships with the "cool", cutting-edge leaders in certain areas when I am speaking, and they want nothing to do with fellowship. WHY? Does my breath stink? Am I not metro-sexual enough in my dress code? NO! My ministry is not relevant enough. I sweat, yell, and entangle the audience in a road trip through the text in order to initiate a "now" response to the message in which the Holy Spirit can interrupt at anytime, as well as heal broken hearts. I don't appear tech savvy, I guess. And I am "cool" with that.
Our culture is not so much weary of institutions as they are skeptical of the ones that do not do what they are supposed to do. What scares me is that, as the Old Testament prophet says, we are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Knowledge leads to wisdom, and wisdom leads to the making of decisions based on the freshness of the move of God's Spirit, rather than "coolness" of presentation. When the size of God grips us more than the size of our lighting rigs and tech toys, only then will we be able to serve as God's cosmic change agents.
My heart breaks for those who have never experienced a move of God based on the supernatural moving of the Spirit, and nothing else. God can use everything we have in this modern generation, but He has no problem using nothing but a willing heart. He has been wooing the hearts of mankind for thousands of years, without any "coolness" in the mix. He is all you need to reach a hurting generation. If Jesus is lifted up, HE does the drawing of a man's soul. May I never forget that.
So, I will just go back this year to the basics, and if I appear "cool", great! If I do not, it does not matter. Because today's cool is tomorrow's "lame." Be who you are, and I think God can worry about the cool stuff on HIs own...