Two online headlines caught my attention this week:
The first, a blog post responding to a recent talk Francis Chan gave where he stated,
“If I just read the Scriptures, I wouldn’t even think so much about the gathering. You know–Like, my first thought wouldn’t be, “Let’s have a gathering.” Out of the Scriptures, I would think, “I’m on a mission. Like, I love this God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and now I’ve got to go out and make disciples.”
The second, a post poking at the topic of preaching. Will preaching be the same lecture based, 20-40 minute talk in the future?
I get what Francis Chan is saying. We focus so much on the gathering, on the Sunday morning event, that we can easily lose focus on living for Christ the rest of the week. We focus so much on what has become a production of sorts that we’ve lost focus on the mission. I agree with that. But…I also think he’s sort of created a false dichotomy between worship and mission. We can’t have one without the other.
So what is the future of the two held in tension? This is something my generation struggles to understand, grasp, and see in the church today. To be sure, there are many churches who get this tension and see worship and mission as both being vital to healthy Christian living, but there are so many others still caught up in worship wars or in trying to prove they are doing the most ‘missional’ work in the community. I’m asking, how can we move forward in worship and mission so we don’t lose even more young people to cynicism and doubt in the leadership of the church?
Though I preach only 7 times per year or so in “big people church,” I have often thought about the future of preaching. Can we continue to expect people to sit and listen for 20+ minutes without interaction, dialogue, or opportunity to discuss/interact with the biblical material? What is the future of preaching? As I process my experiences with today’s youth both in youth ministry settings and “big people church,” I see that they are extremely distracted, easily lose focus, and aren’t afraid to show that by texting, surfing the web, or playing games during worship. Again, will we continue to preach and teach in the same way and risk losing more young people?
I don’t have answers. I’m asking questions, and in some ways that’s safer, easier, less risky. However, I know that a generation MUST eventually answer these questions. We must critically evaluate what we do in worship, and how we model and lead in mission, if we are to further the kingdom and keep each others’ eyes focused on Jesus.