Emergent, Kinda, Again. And A Multimedia Extravanganza!

Yesterday, there was a commenter identifying themself as “Cool Christian.” Whoever that is put some links to a pretty clever, well-done & funny parody ads taken from the Mac vs. P.C. ad campaign. So, special thanks to whomever “Cool Christian” is for showing them to me. I’d never have come across them on my own. Pretty much the only time I’m on YouTube is when someone directs me there. So, 23 gold stars and an offical raising of The Diner coffee cup in salute for sending these my way.

Anyway, the bit, which are posted below, is that there is a stuffy guy who represents the mainstream “Christians” and then a hip & with-it “Christ Follower.” Take the six or so minutes it will take to watch them all (they’re all about a minute or so)…because I want to follow up with some commentary and serious discussion:

Now, it’s the last one that I really feel as if we’ve got something to hang our hats on. The counselor tells the two of them to start talking about the things they like about the other one. And they come up with mild compliments that are almost backhanded. Certainly, they’re begrudging.

And, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how there’s become this mindset of the older generation–who, let’s be honest, has all the leadership positions and financial leverage–that feels threatened by the younger folks view of how church should be doing things. And, frequent visitors in this space have noted that I’ve been equally critical of the younger generation’s penchant for “taking their ball and going home.” They don’t like the way churches are run, so they either start their own or attend equally homogenous gathering spots for worship.

It’s a two-way street, man. And I’m still having trouble with it. I’m GenX. I’m right smack in the middle of this thing and see both sides. Like I said in my comments yesterday, the youth will benefit from the wisdom & experience of the previous generation. The older generation will benefit from the zeal & energy of the youthful among us. I guess I don’t see why it won’t click.

But, you know what? In my conversations with folks lately, I’m finding that the older generation–who is supposed to be more spiritually mature, IMHO–are the ones who don’t want to let go and make changes. I understand your reasons. I’ve heard them. ALL. I’ve heard them all.

And younger ones I’ve had conversations with will actually settle for less than what they want because of other benefits–almost a consumer mentality. I understand your reasons. I’ve heard them. ALL. I’ve heard them all.

But I maintain that this thing should work.

I’ve even had church leaders–at my own church, at my own seminary, and at other local & far-away churches–tell me that “it paints a pretty picture, but it’ll never be a reality.”

Respectfully, I disagree.

I think it will.

And I have lots of reasons.

And I know it’ll take a lot of hard work and a lot of battles to fight. They’ll be worth it in the end, if you’re asking.

And, brother, more than ever, I have the stomach for the fight. Consider this fair warning and believe me when I say it. The way I figure it I have about 20 more years to work on it. The way I figure it, it’ll take about that long.

Just to whet the appetite: A Portland pastor who I’ve met once and listen to occasionally via podcast–and who I happen to respect him through his blogging–had this to say in his most recent blog post dated December 5:

“When I was in the middle of conversations and thinking that eventually led to me leaving a megachurch and beginning this pub church experiment, I said (and still believe) this wonderful piece of obviousness: the megachurch is great at reaching the people it’s reaching. And it’s awful at reaching the people it’s not.
Deep, huh?

To me the question isn’t “Is the megachurch done?” Clearly, it’s not.

To me, the question has always been, is something else needed to reach those the megachurch isn’t (and can’t), those the traditional, smaller evangelical church (like 1st Baptist or 2nd Methodist) can’t?

And the answer for me then and now is an emphatic yes.

I pastor a growing church (something like 60% this year) of people for whom the attractional, large-scale production church was a dead end. Many of them even attempted to be part of a large-scale missional church here in town (that rhymes with Montego Bay) and found that though they appreciated the missional emphasis (as do I- I think we have a lot to learn from them), the size and difficulty of getting “in” precluded their participation.

Many of our folks are either coming back to Christianity, just starting out (yes, we have people meeting Jesus @ Evergreen), or are, not to put too fine a point on it, half-way out the door giving it one last shot with us. I’ve heard from people in ALL of those places on the continuum that the attractional, program driven church, or even large church in general just wasn’t attractive to them.

And that’s the key to this whole discussion.

So, let’s get the discussion started…and, sincerely, thank you for sticking out this long entry…

…but, first of all, is the idea of convergence (blending older & younger members harmoniously) really just painting a pretty picture with little reality? I ask because I can think of 100 different ways I can channel the energy & effort.

…if yes, why? And, do you think it’s fine for older congregations and younger congregations (and even “traditional” & “contemporary” services within the same bulding) to just go about business as they each see fit?

…if no, why? And, what would you be willing to sacrifice that convergence would be peaceful as far as it depends on you?

*wraps both hands about coffee mug and get excited for the potentially enriching conversation this should bring up*