Craig Groeschel is a friend and one of my favorite Christian leaders. I respect him greatly. But I had many questions as I read his blog post this morning. He writes...
The American Church is not lacking for “cool” pastors. Like a single guy who is trying just-a-bit-too-hard to impress a girl, some churches are simply trying too hard to be cool.
I’m very encouraged to see a shifting in direction. For years, many of us seemed focused on:
- Designing relevant church experiences.
- Producing entertaining videos.
- Creating inviting environments.
- Crafting sermon series to draw a crowd.
- Writing sermons with shock value and plenty of humor or stories.
While all of the above can be effective tools, many of my friends are intentionally moving in a stronger direction. So many great Christian leaders are seeing far better results with:
- Bathing a sermon in prayer.
- Fasting regularly.
- Practicing personal confession and repentance.
- Preaching from the overflow of time alone in God’s word.
- Caring deeply for others in biblical community.
I’m thrilled so many leaders are placing less emphasis on being cool and more emphasis on being like Christ.
I totally get where Craig is coming from. I've also seen churches that appear imbalanced toward the "cool" rather than "being like Christ." But I have one big question:
Why does it have to be either/or? Can't it be both/and?
Can't a church service be both relevant and bathed in prayer? Can't a church leader both fast regularly and decide to use an entertaining video to communicate truth? Can't a pastor both care very deeply for others to be in biblical community and create a sermon series with the very purpose of drawing a crowd?
It is true that we can find plenty of Scriptural examples of fasting, prayer, personal confession, repentance and biblical community. But we can also find New Testament examples of Jesus, Paul and others being relevant, creating inviting environments, using humor and entertaining stories and preaching to large crowds.
Knowing Craig, I am guessing he is sensing a void in church leadership and thus trying to create a dialogue. So let's talk...is this a "both/and" situation? Or should we abandon our efforts to design relevant church experiences?