THIS THIS IS NOT A SERMON.
In an age when shorts, sweatpants, and bare midriff (sometimes all at the same time) are considered acceptable attire for most churches, I stand out like a wooly mammoth. In this day of extreme casual, more and more men are throwing away their ties when they go to church. Like some newly awakened Rip Van Winkle, I still wear mine. I thought I would tell you why. David Reagan/Charles Whisnant
When Charity and I were members and on the staff of Ashland Ave Baptist Church in Lexington KY back in 1996-2000 I remember when the pastors began to change their idea about worship in the church service. First the idea was to reach the unchurched (I don’t like that term) When the last pastor came Russell Howard, (who was from FL.) He brought with him the new wave of thinking about doing worship and church and preaching. He changed nearly everything about the way Ashland Ave did church for 85 years, and we were having 1000 in church. He removed the pulpit from the center of worship and one Sunday he had a boat on the platform. He did not have a pulpit on the platform. (This is so common today in many of the churches today) And they adopted the idea of “come as your are” policy. That is when the dress and attire changed. Off with the ties and dresses and on with the shorts. Make people feel comfortable. Make them feel they don’t need to come like they were going to worship the Lord, make them feel that they came come and praise the Lord like they would if they were going to a Michael J. Smith concert, or going to a Reds baseball game, or going to Rupp to see the Kentucky Wildcats play basketball. They bought into the seeker friendly concept.
Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA, Jonathan Falwell has a stage in which he will have props of all kinds to illustrate the message. (of course this has been going on in churches for many years even when I was young. Then the staff encounter a lot of concerned over this and went too not two but three services. You know how they go. One for the old traditional folks, one in between and one all out seeker friends come as you are who cares church. They even changed the platform and made it a stage to made it more friendly. By the way its working at TRBC, they have over 10,000 coming to the services each week. I was overwhelmed when I walked in side the front of the building. I though I was at Virginia Beach Va. where they have all the outdoors shops. I was really overwhelm. ( I know you are saying what was wrong with that?)
The point was to make the services more acceptable for the people who were not in church, to make it look and feel like they were walking into a place other than a traditional church building. Sinners are afraid of coming to a church that is going to make them feel they are in a place where God shows up.
I remember when I was working for Southern Acres Christian Church in Lexington KY and was very close to the pastors and staff. I was there when they began to move away from the traditional church to the seeker friendly church. I was in some of the meetings and set down and talked to them about their plans to change over to a more cultural acceptable kind of church service. On staff member said, “Charles, the old people will be dead in 10 years and so will we if we don’t change.” And they changed. They wanted to be the next Southland Christian church that have over 15,000 coming at the time. (My the way I loved the Pastor and the Educational pastor whey were the best, I believe they loved the Lord a lot.)
I set down and talked to the pastor at Christ Community Church here in Portsmouth Ohio about the change over from the old folks idea. He said the church is dying and if I don’t change I will not have a church in a few years, thus he changed over to the more friendly type cultural acceptable kind of worship and service.
Churches are doing what ever it takes to get people into the church. Of course the idea is to get people to come to church right? Church is for the lost right? The means of how you do it is not as important as getting them to come right?
As a side note here and I will pick this up next time: People don’t come to church because they are first not saved. Second those who are saved and don’t come have lost the desire to come. Some have got mad and quit coming. Some of course don’t come because they work and many other reasons.