I’ve written many times about thinking back to the “good ole days”, but this week I discovered how much fun it is to read comments from people who are younger than me longing for their childhood. In a BuzzFeed article (https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/people-sharing-things-were-great-223535254.html), people were asked to name things that were “good back in the day” but have lost their appeal. Not so old people gave answers such as politics, kids cartoons, movies, driving and fast food; all subjects I agree have lost their standing in society. When these things lose their standing, they are no longer have the degree of relevance they once enjoyed. Unfortunately, we have seen these, and many other things, fight for survival and lose their integrity. What was once respected is now loathed. I have noticed a common occurrence happening in all of these examples. Did the people who enjoy them change or did the items change. In each case, although people were getting older, their tastes in the subjects did not. If each area of interest would continue to offer the same type of product maybe they would have not lost its appeal to the general public. In most of these cases I have discovered that decisions to “upgrade” their offerings did not come from public demand, but from corporate leadership. In most of these cases the new leaders of the company or entity were not original consumers or fans and the changes that they made were to appear to be something or represent a certain ideal that they really did not embrace. As the culture was changing, those in leadership felt like they had to change too. In the process they lost their identity and their fan base. The leadership lost the original draw that was the foundation.
It doesn’t take a cultural expert to admit that in some ways the Church has followed this pattern. Many of the things that were changed several years ago, in an effort to remain culturally pertinent, are the very things church people today mention that they miss. Like a spiritual game of Jenga, we have removed the pins of support that hold the tower up. Changing things up for a season is fun, and when you are young you feel like you are getting away with something. But in the process if you change so many things that you no longer offer the true substance of your product you have lost your original appeal. This is why so many people walk away from a church service feeling empty. Yes, they have “been to church” but did they have a genuine encounter with the Lord or just a cultural gathering of spiritual seekers?
As we get older, we realize that many of the things we once thought were only for our parents are actually the stabilizing instruments of genuine corporate worship. These things are familiar, stable and simple. What was exciting at one time no longer satisfies. What we long for are the “good ole days.” When we reach the bumps in the road of life we need to hear from the Lord. In the turbulence of this age we need to know that there is a place we can go for stability, a place that doesn’t change. This does not mean the church should not evaluate their approach to worship, on the contrary, we need to do this often to ensure the main things remain the main things! People need to hear from the Lord and His primary form of communication about Himself is the Bible. If we keep the Word of the Lord at the center of all we offer in the Church we need not worry about cultural appeal. The stability that we find in the Scripture will never lose its appeal.
Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons Deuteronomy 4:9
Serving the Savior,
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