Once again Thomas Rainer with another great article. These types of generational shifts are happening and as it has happened time and time again over the past 100 years especially if churches refuse to acknowledge and embrace change they will close their doors.
There are many things in this article that I have either seen, I see coming, or I wish was already here. I could get behind the casual dress very easily. It makes sense at a formal occasion but church is supposed to be a hospital for sinners, which means it is supposed to be a place where you can bring your whole self as you are and be ministered to, pointed to Jesus in repentance of sin and look to Him alone for salvation and sanctification in our daily life as we should be growing in Christ-likeness.
There have been many churches over the past 100 years where they would put on their "Sunday best" not only as a way to present an image of themselves that wasn't accurate to daily life but in most cases, especially in fundamentalism it was viewed as an actual rule or test of fellowship. In many cases you could get away with murder long before anyone would dare to let you stand on a stage without a 3 piece suit and tie.
When we allow for external conformity to become our definition of Christianity we have already long been traveling down the wrong road. Christianity is not about external conformity but about inward transformation.
I also love the idea about getting rid of the larger pulpits and moving to a smaller one or just simply not having one at all except for some type of small stand on which to place your Bible and notes and/or I-pad if you use one for preaching.
For myself and many millennials the larger pulpit creates a barrier between the preacher and the audience, and in many ways this creates an idea of they are different, or that they are more important. These types of barriers need to be destroyed and removed.
One of the things I seek after and attempt to employ in every way I can is to be as approachable as possible. I want to convey to everyone that I minister to that no I don't have it all together. No, I am not perfect! Yes, I am a sinner saved by grace, and I am in just a big of need of a perfect Savior as anyone sitting there listening to me preach.
So far, this has been my reality. Many have told me that I am in fact approachable so this brings a considerable amount of joy to my life because it is after all one of my biggest goals.
I want people to know that I am no different than anyone else, and I am here to help, I am here to guide, and hopefully in many cases I am here to learn as well from you.
Now, those that love to engage in straw man arguments will take my words here and changes them into something that is easier to go after. For instance, they will say, "He is trying to force these things upon us!" However, those who are rational and don't engage in straw man arguments will realize that for me many of these are preferences built on foresight of what is coming in cultural changes around us and I want to be able to reach out to the next generation who whether we like it or not will be the next leaders in the church.
If we wish to have a future church we need to be mindful of our traditions and not cling to them with such a tight fist that we lose out on our future and are left with only a perceived glorious past.
This article that I am writing in response to Thomas Rainer's article should not be seen as pointed in any particular church's direction. No, it is written with a more general idea in mind. However, I think that we always can take this admonition to heart and consider the content for ourselves to find out if there is anything that applies to our daily operation.
Accepting and embracing change is not compromise of truth. You can change culturally and never change or compromise on the gospel. This is one of the many errors of fundamentalism. They make as a test of fellowship and as an addition to the gospel their traditions to the point that they in a lot of ways supercede the gospel and tradition replaces it.
May God help us to cling to Him instead of our tradition! May God help us to be humble and see Christianity in terms of having unity in a building, or a pulpit, or a man, or a personality, but that our unity will always be in Christ!
Rainer, Thomas. Twenty Relics of Church Past. Thomas Rainer: Growing Healthy Churches Together. June 14, 2017. Accessed on June 14, 2017. http://thomrainer.com/2017/06/twenty-relics-church-past/?utm_source=ThomRainer.com+Subscription+List&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=18050bc78b-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_TEDS&utm_term=0_9616169249-18050bc78b-81806393