"Add an Engaging Title"
Every time I sit down to write a blog post, the website gives me the same form to complete. At the top, where the title goes, it says, "Add an engaging title." Some titles are better than others, but I'm not sure I've ever written a truly "engaging" title. My blogs aren't "10 Biblical Steps to Eliminate Financial Anxiety" or "Have God Fulfill Your Dreams in Only Three Prayers." Maybe I'd have more readers if I did, but that's just not my thing.
Churches in the last thirty years or so have gone over the top in an attempt to be engaging (or, as the churchspeak goes, "relevant"). We add in light shows, smoke machines, and music so loud you can't hear yourself singing; we remove pulpits, pews, and the word "sermon"; we read edgier translations of the Bible that are nothing like what the original languages actually say but that sound "contemporary"; we even build buildings that are indistinguishable from factories so we don't make people uncomfortable by forcing them into what is clearly sacred space. All of that so we can be relevant and engage the next generation.
Of course, you can go too far in doing nothing, too. As much as I love hymns from, say, the 18th-century, your average teenager doesn't. Pianos and organs can only go so far in musical performance. And even though we as a culture owe a tremendous debt to the King James Version, it's neither the most accurate nor the most linguistically-suited translation anymore (kids can't write in cursive these days, but we expect them to understand the language of Shakespeare and Milton?).
But if there's one thing that's always relevant, that always engages the souls of humans, it's the gospel of Jesus Christ. The form of delivery for the gospel matters, but the gospel stands on its own, too. Maybe if we focus more on the word of God, if we put a greater emphasis on Jesus Christ who died to save sinners, if we make our only mission telling people about God, then we'll always be engaging. Let's do more to keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.