22 September, 2012

Out With the Old

It seems that for so many, the mantra is out with the old. In our churches, everyone wants to change everything. In fact the "experts" tell us pastors that we need to continually be evolving and rolling with the changes if we want to reach today's generation. I'll buy that to a large degree... but I tend to think we take it overboard.  15 years ago all of society was rolling through that whole do away with the old thing. Do you remember the advertisement, "This is not your father's Oldsmobile"?

Funny thing is... the Oldmobile division of GM was shuttered up and closed years ago now. I contend that there are some things need not be changed. Oldsmobile had always exuded something special... a type of "class," if you will.  It was always a "cut above." In the late 80's they went after the youth... and it died a quick and painful death. Sometimes you just need to be what you are and keep doing what you know to do.

A few hours ago, my wife and I went for a walk about town and stopped into an antique store. We'd never been in this one before. It's in an old, run down building and certainly does not look like much on the outside. But inside.... Oh my. The store just kept going on and on, room after room. And we did not even get to the upstairs. They had some absolutely beautiful items in this place. I could start listing them, but I'd be listing items for hours. I was amazed at the beauty of some of the items, and the craftsmanship! You just cannot buy furniture like that anymore. I was looking at one piece, a desk that had a tag on it, dating it at about 1856. It was just beautiful. As I was looking at it, I thought to myself, "They could not build it like this today without the cost being greater than what they wanted for this antique!"  Think about it... 156 years old, still solid and usable... when desks made today are of nowhere near that caliber, cost 5 times the prices of this one and will be falling apart in 10 years.

As I was thinking about this furniture, my mind drifted over to the topic I started out with. It seems we are constantly trying to change and go with the flow in an effort to reach a new generation and reel them in to our churches. About the same time as Oldsmobile came out with it's "this is not your father's Oldsmobile" campaign, the "experts" told us that today's generation did not want the church their parents went to either. It had to be a building that did not look like a church, it had to be modern, have all the modern lights and smoke machines and high tech gizmos if we wanted them to come to our churches. Funny thing... those same "experts" are telling us that today, the youth are looking for the traditional church. Something tells me we've made some huge mistakes. Personally, I've come to realize that all these experts are doing is becoming wealthy off all the books the sell and conferences that they put on. I'm convinced we just need to get back to the good old gospel that has stood the test of time and use what works. Just like the modern furniture is only useful for a season and it is ready for the garbage heap, so too are so many of the "trends" they sell us. Meanwhile, as we walked around downtown, we passed by 6 or 7 churches that have these HUGE buildings that have been standing for 100 years or more, still drawing huge crowds, still doing what they have always done... and it works.

Yes, I recognize there must be some change and we need to make changes to reach folks... but we must never move our anchor.

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