Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Devastating Quote [SK]

Justin Taylor writes:

Sally Morgenthaler, author of the influential book Worship Evangelism, has now concluded: "For all the money, time, and effort we’ve spent on cultural relevance—and that includes culturally relevant worship—it seems we came through the last 15 years with a significant net loss in churchgoers, proliferation of megachurches and all."


  1. I saw that post earlier today, and read Ms. Morgenthaler's article. I am a member of an Ohio megachurch and have been thinking about similar problems for the past few years. I'm in my mid-30s and have grown thoroughly frustrated with the contemporary worship service ... or as I half-jokingly call it, the "contemptible worthless circus."

    I'm strictly a traditional worship guy now, but I still worry about my congregation missing the unchurched. Do you have any news on Ms. Morgenthaler's latest efforts? Has she really shifted focus to preaching the gospel, or is she just looking for the next new fad?

  2. Puddle Pirate,
    I know what you mean. Thankfully, we recently found a church that takes preaching and worship seriously. Prior to that, I hated church. I've hated it for nearly 20 years. The slap-happy praise hits described in Ms. Morganthaler's article were painful to endure. That, along with the dumbing down of the preaching content, was more than I could bear.

    One interesting note: have you noticed that almost no one sings along with these causual and hip "worship" tunes? The men certainly don't. They just akwardly stand there with their hands in their pockets. It's all spectatorship. There's absolutely nothing of the glory of God that drives one to fall on his face in thanksgiving for the cross. What a shame.

    Contrast that with my college years spent at a well-known charasmatic church, The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, CA. (Jack Hayford's church) Though I am no longer a charismatic (I'm not a cessationist--so save the emails), I have deep appreciation for the serious and God-glorifying approach the church at that time took toward worship.

    I long for cross-centered preaching and worship that drives me to overflow with thanksgiving for God's amazing grace. Some modern worship courses do that, so I don't want to overstate my frustrations. (Try this one, for example--it's a grand slam. Consider minimizing the screen to ignore the video:

    Sadly, for many people today, good preaching is hard to come by. In that case, you must, as Martyn Lloyd Jones says, "preach the gospel to yourself. I am currently working through MLJ's commentaries on Ephesisans--which are really his sermons preached during his time at Westminster Chapel. Mind blowing.

  3. Here's a question for church leaders:

    Is your preaching and worship style producing men like this?

    If not, something is really wrong.

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  5. Speaking of reaching the lost ...

    New thought: what suggestions would you offer to a Christian CPC that has decided to get heavily involved in pro-life apologetics? I'm a board member with plenty of experience with blogging and new media, and my efforts to push the organization into the 21st Century have finally succeeded. We're going to try to reach postmodern youth where they are, and we'll do it without strictly pandering to their "felt needs."

    Personally, I already give every moth to CBR because I see the value of properly used graphic visuals. I'm also pretty well-versed in pro-life apologetics, and my law degree comes in handy too.

    What kinds of tips/hints/warnings would you offer to a CPC that's committed to doing pro-life apologetics, has a few key board members and staffers who are excited and motivated to succeed, but is inexperienced and tentative?

    And of course we're strapped for cash too (no surprise there).

  6. I stopped singing in the "praise group" that provided music for the contemporary service held in the church's gym. Mainly, it was because the songs were often theologically shallow, emotionally sappy, and musically dull. I now attend the traditional worship service that takes place simultaneously over in the sanctuary.

    The traditional hymns have "oomph", and there's none of the shallowness of contemporary Christian music (which I deride as "Jesus-is-my-girlfriend" music). Listen to the lyrics sometime, and replace every "Him" and "Lord" and "Jesus" with words like "her" and "baby" and "darling." Voila! Instant sappy pop song!


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