Will the church in America soon look like this?
The fastest growing religious group in America is those with no religious affiliation. Why is that? A recent article “Americans, Undecided about God” in the New York Times explores this question.
The author says:
We need a Steve Jobs of religion. Someone (or ones) who can invent not a new religion but, rather, a new way of being religious. Like Mr. Jobs’s creations, this new way would be straightforward and unencumbered and absolutely intuitive. Most important, it would be highly interactive. I imagine a religious space that celebrates doubt, encourages experimentation and allows one to utter the word God without embarrassment. A religious operating system for the Nones among us. And for all of us.
What will this look like for the church? We have to skate between the dangers of compromise and irrelevancy. On the one hand, compromise capitulates to the spirit of the age, altering the core of the biblical gospel to meet the desires of the people around us. On the other hand, irrelevancy preaches the same message to the same people without any attempt to bring healing to the needs of the millions of broken people around them.
What does this look like for us? Paul contextualized the gospel, preaching in remarkably different ways to the uneducated at Lystra (Acts 14:8–18) and the pagan philosophers of Athens (Acts 17:22–34). We must do the same. We must contextualize the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ to meet the needs of people in our generation. Have we gotten too comfortable with our friends in the church that we are irrelevant to the broken hearts of so many around us? Do we have “unceasing great sorrow and unceasing anguish” (Rom 9:2) in our heart for the sake of those who don’t know Christ? Lord, break our hearts, that we might prayerfully, powerfully and wisely connect the riches of Christ with the brokenness of the people around us in our generation.