So, a lot of you have seen a video that was released a few weeks ago from North Point called “Sunday’s Coming”. If you haven’t, you can watch it here:
I think the video is pretty freaking funny. It makes fun of a lot of the silly traps that modern Evangelical churches fall into. There is nothing wrong with the church making fun of the church every now and again.
I was a little put off, however, by a lot of the comments that I read online about the video (mostly from people that I love). I couldn’t help but feel like people were completely missing the point of the video. The video was produced by North Point church in Atlanta… who’s worship services are EXACTLY like the video they produced. That means that when they produced the video, they were making fun of themselves while acknowledging that their model of church has been effective in reaching people for Christ.
People treat trendy churches like they are a bunch of heretics. Sure, I get it. Jesus wasn’t cool… we don’t want to spend all of our time and resources on over-priced coffee, LCD monitors in the lobby, and expensive lighting. However, I can’t help but feel like the focus of our scrutiny could be better applied to people who are actually preaching heresy. What is the point in stirring up division in the church when the people that we criticize have the same goals? If you want to criticize a trendy church, do it for what they believe in, not what their services look like.
Now, let me explain my reasons to defend the “cool” church model.
I was really skeptical of mega-churches. Any church that had more than 3 or 4 hundred people made me uncomfortable. Any church that spent money on aesthetics instead of missions made me mad. God forbid that someone buy a fog machine so that you could see the stage lighting better.
But then I went to North Point in the summer 2006. Yes, it was exactly like the video. There was a hip, young, loud band. There were motion lights. There was a smoke machine. There were giant video screens. And all of that made me uncomfortable. But then I listened to the sermon.
The message spoken that day by Andy Stanley literally changed my life. Had I not heard that sermon, I would have never married my wife (much less had a child with her), would have never ended up joining the band that I joined (which has been my focus of ministry for the last 4 years), and probably wouldn’t even be a Christian anymore. Stanley challenged me in a way that I had not been challenged by any pastor up to that point in my life. I can’t help but think that people go to North Point for the preaching just as much as the music and lighting.
With that said, I want people to realize that there is a lot of value in what trendy mega-churches are doing. Yes, it makes us uncomfortable sometimes. However, as long as they are preaching the Gospel from the pulpit, we should get off their backs for their stylistic preferences. I hate to resort to trite, over-expressed statements, but… If you don’t like the way that that church does worship, then don’t go there. The same reason that you don’t like that church is the reason that certain people don’t go to your church.