by guest contributer Joey Sanchez with Stephanie Drury
Churches need to attract people. They need to be cool. It seems they think the message of Christ’s grace is not enough on its own, it must be accompanied by worship music played to tracks, preachers who offer sermon series such as “The Pathway of Peace”, and services that last 58 minutes. (Other words in the relevant lexicon include “emergent,” “resurgent,”
“missional,” and “authentic.”)
Since pastors are employed by these churches, they too need to be as relevant as possible. Distressed jeans, brewery t-shirts (remember I said relevant), wireless headset mics, and thin Bibles that don’t look like Bibles are a must. These churches also like to play U2 songs during their worship sets, leaving a perfect opportunity for the pastor to explain that we “still haven’t found what we’re looking for.”
If you attend a relevant church you will likely encounter a video screen either behind the pastor or brandishing the pastor’s face if he is actually preaching from another location (which means you are in a church satellite). On this screen of relevance they will probably show a video ushering in the pastor’s sermon. This video will be “edgy.” To Christian culture “edgy” means that it is loud, features choppy editing, and that any old people in the church (there aren’t many to start with) might hate it to the point of writing a vigorously annoyed review on the comment card and possibly not return.
Relevant churches often strenuously encourage marriage. Once someone is married they often encourage wives to quit their jobs and husbands to earn a certain amount of money, and they prompt everyone to breed. Relevant churches also have “lay counsel,” which are counselors who are usually not certified or qualified by any standards other than they may have gone to the church or been a Christian for a long time. Relevant churches often strongly discourage anyone to seek therapy or counseling outside of their dubiously-qualified lay counsel. As a result, untreated postpartum depression is rampant in these churches and poses a distinct threat to the marriages and children the church urged people towards in the first place.