My wife and I travel out to Illinois to see her family at least once per year. There is usually very little to see except flat farmland as we trudge through Kansas and Missouri. However, every trip there is a very normal looking building that immediately grabs my attention. This building would normally blend into the background if it weren’t for a few words. Those words are “EnjoyChurch.TV.” If the name doesn’t spell it out, this building is host to a unique and progressive religious organization of some kind.
If there are any three words that define our culture, few describe it better than enjoy, church, and TV. Our culture is all about enjoyment, spirituality, and technology. Enjoyment has become so vital to our culture, that anyone who tries to take away someone else’s enjoyment, regardless of what the Bible says about it, is a bad, judgmental, intolerant person. Enjoyment has become king. While they use the word “church,” they seem to be talking more about spirituality rather than an organized religion. See, they are communicating that a person can literally be any type of person and any denomination and find a place to fit in. Not only can the people be whatever they want, they don’t even have to show up. They could just “do church” online at home. A person never has to darken the doors of the building. Then the entire process is intertwined with technology. There is flashy worship, interactive media, drama, and videos.
This church has pegged what our culture wants. Our culture is enamored with enjoyment, which must include tolerance of what others enjoy. They are attracted to spirituality, but only to one they can keep at arms distance (aka online worship). And they are drawn in by technology to make everything flashy, entertaining, and convenient. I don’t know everything about this church, but their name sure says a lot about what our culture has become.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the church and worship. There is nothing wrong with using technology. In fact, worship should be enjoyable and the church should use technology. but there is a limit. Worship should be enjoyable not because of a flashy and interactive worship, but because of a heartfelt, biblical worship service (John 4:23-24), and an engaging lesson centering on God’s word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Everything must be done according to what God has specified. There is also nothing wrong with accepting all people. Without a doubt, God’s saving message is for all (2 Peter 3:9). The difference is that while all are invited, they can’t come as they are, they must comply to God’s command (Matthew 7:21-23).
Paul’s inspired words to Timothy strike home in today’s culture like never before, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:1-4).
More than ever the Lord’s church is standing in front of the enormous and overpowering movement that our culture has become. We are battling a very tough and daunting foe, but let’s not be discouraged. Let’s remember that God is on our side (Romans 8:31) and just keep teaching the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We too can reach our culture where they are, but let’s never do so at the cost of truth.