A few months ago I did some recon at a Baptist church and was amazed at what I saw. Last night I went to the McLean Bible Church near my home and was stunned. And despite myself, I was a little seduced…
The MBC is brand new and huge. It can easily seat around 2000 people. My Protestant buddy, (who’s a very good friend, and the kind of friend everyone should have), invited me to it to see “where he’s coming from.” He was watching me carefully as we walked into the massive auditorium, and he thought my reaction was pretty funny. I couldn’t believe it–there were eight huge flat-screen monitors hung on the ceiling, a big pit in the center that controlled all the sophisticated A/V equipment, and what can only be described as a “stage” up front. There was a Christian rock band playing, and despite my deep, deep loathing of Christian music, they were pretty good. (I think the lead singer and acoustic guitarist had a Taylor…)
The average age of the congregation was probably 22, and I’ll just say this–if I was Protestant girl shopping, this would be the place. I have never seen such a high percentage of hotties under one Church roof in my life. But that’s not the point… I’m TRYING to illustrate that this was a youth-oriented crowd. These were the “cool” Christians.
The service was pretty typical, I guess. An emotional, inspiring rock concert followed by some house-keeping details, and an excellent guest pastor who gave a funny/inspirational sermon. I was shocked at how few people had brought their own Bibles, but that really wasn’t the point.
Later, while having coffee with my buddy in the in-house Starbucks on a lower level, I remarked that I’d been trying to keep an open mind about the thing on the drive out there. But I think I kept my mind TOO open. I felt the seduction of the spectacle, and while I would never leave the Church, I felt a little depressed that what we have to offer, while true, isn’t nearly as flashy. In comparison, even the National Shrine that I go to was flat and boring. I wondered aloud what I could do to “jazz it up,” without compromising doctrine or truth…
On the apologetics front, I showed him my rosary, (thereby “outing” myself to everyone around us. People looked at me as though I had two heads), and told him he could expect miracles if he prayed it. He’s going through some tough stuff with his non-anything girlfriend, like I did, and I shared (witnessed) with him the miracle that set me free.
So, I got my apologetics card punched for the day.
Anyway, there’s more to it, but I’m trying to keep it short. Here’s a question, though: Other than Theology on Tap, what can we do to make our ancient incense-and-stone Church more “appealing” to the youth without falling into all the errors of modernism?