Our world has evolved past “church.”
That’s the general idea behind the term “post-Christian.” We used to be a Christianized (i.e. Westernized) culture, but have now grown enlightened enough that we can glean the teachings and leave the “church” behind. We are past “church.”
My wife and I recently had a very interesting conversation about what that brand of atheism/agnosticism looks like in our society today, and what will it look like in the future. More importantly, how will the Church be able to reach those who feel this way about “religion?”
Praise Bands of Old
Turn back the clock a few decades and the scene in any given church would be relatively rigid. Hymns. Pews. Scripted orders of service. Pastoral prayer. Stand. Sit. Stand. Sit. Stand. Kneel. Stand. Sit.
Enter the Praise Band. Songs that sound like those that you’d hear on the radio. Preaching outside (gasp!) the pulpit. The New International Version upending the iron grip of the KJV and RSV. Church started to become notably more “relevant” and the seeker-friendly movement was born.
Music was the catalyst that re-invigorated people’s commitments to their faith.
Thoughtfulness the new Praise Band
The biggest mistake we could make is to assume that a “post-Christian” society is the same as a “disinterested-in-Christianity” society. On the contrary, there are MANY folks out there that are highly interested in having conversations about issues of faith.
But they desire to have conversation (you know, with talking and listening), and they want to be able to ask questions of the Bible that are not met with “well, you just have to have faith.”
In short, those that have cast off “religion” have often cast off what they see as “empty,” or “mindless,” or “blind” religion. The way we can re-engage these very thoughtful nay-sayers is to be thoughtful about what we believe.
Return to doctrine.
Return to theological discussions.
Return from the land of spiritual lethargy and wrestle with why you believe what we do.
Return from the land of letting the Pastor interpret for you.
The churches that reach the vast numbers of unbelievers in the coming years will be the churches that encourage members to be thoughtful in what they believe and engage in the tough conversations.
Growing churches will be thoughtful churches.
What is your experience with thoughtfulness in religion?