Our church is going through a pretty radical transition. Our senior pastor of over 40 years is retiring at the beginning of the year. He's not really a part of the service that we attend, but he still has a lot of influence over it. Our church has built a tradition around this great man and he has truly had a dynamic influence on our city and our church. But, now are church looks like a velvet elvis to people our age, and people are leaving.
Let me explain. I just started reading Rob Bell's book, "Velvet Elvis". He is referencing the old painting to how they did church back when... It is not in reference to the lighting, or the style of music, just on how they did church. Just like, back in Jesus' time, they went around talking on hills and now we have jumbo-trons and stadiums, and prayer rooms.
He uses the example of how Martin Luther, got upset over the current tradition, and created a reformation. I feel that our church needs a new painting on the wall. Here's a great quote from Bell:
"For many people the word Christian conjures up all sorts of images that have nothing to do with who Jesus is and how he taught us to live. This must change. For others, the painting works for their parents, or it provided meaning when they were growing up, but it is no longer relevant. It doesn't fit. It's outdated. It doesn't have anything to say to the world they live in every day. It's not that there isn't any truth in it or that all the people before them were misguided or missed the point. It's just that every generation has to ask the difficult questions of what it means to be a Christian here and now, in this place, at this time.
And if this difficult work isn't done, where does the painting end up?
In the basement."
Times change, Jesus doesn't, but times do. We need to embrace it.