7 1/2 Things The Post-Modern Church Needs To Learn

by | Apr 20, 2014 | Church & Ministry, Daily Walk, Ministry, Practical Discipleship, Spirituality, The Blog, Theology, Theology

***Disclaimer: Being a pastor, student, etc. means I have to disclaim everything I say because people are easily offended. So this is my disclaimer: you’re going to be offended. But that’s not the goal here. The goal of this post is to challenge you to think outside of your spiritual box. The goal is to push you to be real, honest and genuine about your faith. If the church wants to continue to fail in this post-modern world all we have to do is continue to be unauthentic with those around us. This post is raw, real and straight to the point. There will be plenty who don’t like it or agree, and that’s okay. It’s OKAY to not agree with everything. I don’t hate you. I just want you make you think.

After being in and around church people for over two decades and being actively involved as a youth leader/pastor the last five years, I’ve come up with some important observations post-modern Christians need to recognize. This is not a specific critique of any church I have been affiliated with in the past. This is simply a general observation I’ve noticed. This is also not exhaustive, so please do not treat it as such.

1. Church is not a show.

I’ve been a youth pastor/leader for about 5 years now. I understand the fun that comes with trying to run a “show” for church. I also know the downfalls and authenticity you lose with people when putting on a show in church. I’ve visited enough churches to know that we are doing it wrong.

I will address the “being real” part below. However, we have to realize that Jesus wasn’t trying to imitate a game show or concert when he taught. He was pioneering a new way for us, not just to learn about Yahweh, but how to follow Yahweh through powerful teachings, even more powerful miracles and meeting people where they were.

2. Lights are cool, but feeding people is better.

I’ve been to a lot of “cool” churches. I’ve seen the “cool” lights and the Rockstar band with the hipster 50’s something pastor. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy walking into a place like that. It’s appealing. But if you have all those fancy lights and you aren’t doing anything to feed your homeless or helping the orphans and widows, all of that means nothing to Jesus. And I would go farther and ask, “What are you doing to make sure the homeless and orphaned are able to go enter their community, get a job, and provide for themselves?” The church isn’t about being this “super cool hipster,” it’s about following Jesus and doing what He says in verses like Matthew 25, James 1:27 and Micah 6:8.

When I lived in Florida my senior year at Southeastern University, I went to a grocery store late at night for some last minute school supplies. As I made my way to the sliding doors I saw a man sitting to the left of the door. He was homeless and was in need of several things. I asked what he needed and got him stuff (Now remember, I was a poor college student making $50 a week). When I came out, I didn’t just toss the guy his stuff. I got down on that dirty concrete floor and I listened to his story. His name was Brad and after a series of very unfortunate events in Baltimore, he made his way down to Florida with nothing. Since he had no license or birth certificate, he was unable to get into a homeless shelter. But I sat, listened and helped him feel like he was a person, not just a machine that some people use to feel better about themselves. He told me that no one had ever sat down and just listened to him. I made him feel important and loved because Jesus sees him as important and loved. I’m not saying you need or are able to do this for every single homeless person. I’m also not trying to say I’m better than someone else because I don’t always do this. I’m simply saying the post-modern church would learn well to treat the poor as people and not vending machines.

3. Stop being fake.

How many times have you walked into church and heard, “Good morning! How are you this morning?” and they have no intention on actually listening to how you feel. I am just as guilty of doing this. I actually make it a point to say, “It’s good to see you this morning” instead. The truth is that every Christ-follower is walking through something. For some, things are going great and they have an awesome testimony. For others, they aren’t doing so great and they still have a testimony. No one is exempt from bad things happening to them. However, Colossians 3 calls us to bear with one another. If a member in your church is hurting, bear with them. If a member in your church is joyful, celebrate with them. BUT STOP pretending like people in church world are living in sunshine and rainbows all day. That is NOT true Christianity. Ask a person, “How are YOU doing?” and then if they aren’t honest, explain that you want to know how they are truly doing. If they are hurting, listen and pray with them. Don’t tell them what to unless they ask. My one friend Eric often asks, “Do you want me to just listen or do you want advice?” He won’t ask that question again the rest of the conversation after I answer and that’s one of the most important thing you can do for someone you care about. Don’t just hear someone, but listen with intention.

4. Stop blowing past communion and baptism like it’s not a big deal.

I think communion is one of the most important symbolic rituals we do on a regular basis. But so many DON’T take it on a regular basis. Then, when we do take it, we blow past it like it’s nothing. Communion should be an important time of repentance. It’s a reminder that we need Jesus for everything. It’s a reminder that we were bought at a price. It’s a reminder that we shouldn’t take advantage of our grace. So stop blowing by it. Take time to pray through it. Cut down your sermon time. Communion is more important than whatever nice comfortable topic you’re preaching on to make your congregation feel good about themselves. And baptism is a whole other post.

5. Stop the nice comfortable topical preaching. You are not a motivational speaker. 

This obviously doesn’t apply to everyone. But I’m so tired of post-modern pastors preaching nice topical sermons (Especially sermons with no scripture. Don’t tell me to turn to a chapter, not use it for twenty minutes after you tell a story, and read one verse, and tell another story. Church is about Jesus and how to follow him effectively in our lives. It’s about learning how to die daily. Not live a pretend life. Living a pretend life will only cause major heartbreak later on). If you only preach “everything is going to be great and just follow Jesus and no harm will come to you” sermons, you aren’t preaching the Gospel. James 1:2, Romans 5:3-5, John 16:33 just to name a few, remind us that troubles, hard times and bad things are going to happen, BUT the Holy Spirit has a plan. Yes awful things will come to us, but through the Holy Spirit we can overcome everything the world throws at us because Jesus has overcome the world! If you want to make people feel good all the time and pretend like there’s no hurt in this world, go and be a motivational speaker. Pastoring is about preaching the Gospel, making disciples and taking part in the Kingdom of God, not your own. 

6. Stop building your own kingdom.

I have a lot of issues with Mega-churches. I also have a problem with pastors who are making hundreds of thousands of dollars from their congregation while their own congregation is struggling through tough times. I’m not saying that all mega-churches are inherently evil. There are a plethora of good things that come from them when they are Spirit-led and focused on Jesus. They have resources, networks and usually great worship music. But there is this idea that unless you have a mega-church, you aren’t successful. Remember, Jesus only truly disciples twelve guys and had a core group of three. More isn’t always better. Remember that it’s ALL about Jesus and HIS Kingdom, not your multi-million dollar church building. (Disclaimer: I don’t think a multi-million dollar church building is a bad thing. If the Lord blesses you with that, Praise God! But I want to reiterate that it’s only about Jesus’ Kingdom, not your own.)

7. Pastor’s are humans, not perfect. Held to a higher standard, but not above bad things happening to them. 

I don’t necessarily think this is a post-modern problem, but it’s a problem that has lasted through the post-modern and probably “post-post-modern” era. Almost once a month or quarter we’re hearing about pastor’s who are having “moral failures” or having to resign for this or that. We have to remember that pastors ARE NOT perfect. Furthermore, you NEED to pray for your pastor. Because he is held to a higher standard, he is under a lot more spiritual warfare. And church: STOP WITH THE PETTY STUFF! Why are we more worried about silly decorations in the church than with the pastor’s health or other members of the congregation for that matter? Pastors go through tough seasons of life. Sometimes it’s a family issue, sometimes it’s depression and loneliness, and sometimes they’re just straight up tired. Learn to pray for your pastor and ask how HE is doing and be honest. They may not vent to you about their issues (because he or she should have accountability partners), but let them know that he/she can tell you whether they’re in a tough season or not so you can pray for them.

7.5 STOP BEING OFFENDED ALL THE TIME!

I want to add this last one because it’s so important. Why do Christians think they are helping out the global Christian cause by being offended? Do you not think Jesus can handle it? Do you not think Jesus can defend himself? Yes, unsaved people say bad things about Yahweh, BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW HIM! But guess what, YOU DO! So, instead of being offended over petty things, pray that they would hear about the love and forgiveness that comes through what Jesus did for us (AKA the Gospel!). Share the Gospel WITH them, not AT them. Share the reality that, “Yeah, life sucks sometimes, but I have a hope in my future through Jesus.”  I have more to say about being offended and stupid Christian social media posts, but I’ll reserve that for a future blog.

I do hope you weren’t too offended. Some may think that was light others might think it’s harsh. This is also not an exhaustive list. Trust me, there are plenty more, but I’m at 1729 words and you’re getting tired of reading this. So if you have your own “thing” post-moderns need to learn, post it below. If you have a serious problem with what I’ve said, you can email me and discuss it. I have no problem admitting I’m wrong.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth.” John 14: 15-17

Update 4/21/14: Right after I posted this, my friend Jimmy Paton wrote something very similar here. So if you don’t like what I have to say, maybe hear what he has to say.

Leave A Comment

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article! Please remember to be kind and respectful. If you didn’t like something, I always welcome constructive criticism. However, any form of hatred, bullying, or racism will not be tolerated.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About The Author

Justin Boothby is a lifelong student who loves to travel, film, write, design websites, and life coach. Most importantly he loves to Pastor in all different kinds of ministry settings. He’s also an avid pizza lover, metalcore listener, and shot glass collector.

Recent Blog Posts

Leave A Comment

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this article! Please remember to be kind and respectful. If you didn't like something, I always welcome constructive criticism. However, any form of hatred, bullying, or racism will not be tolerated.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About The Author

Justin is a lifelong student who loves to speak, travel, film, write, and coach. He has a goal of empowering others to grow closer to Jesus in practical and unique ways. After acquiring two degrees in Practical Theology and then studying in Israel for two years, Justin has a passion to help people read the Bible with a deeper appreciation in its original, ancient context.

M.A. Hebrew University of Jerusalem
M.Div. Regent University
B.S. Southeastern University

About Justin

Justin is a lifelong student who loves to speak, travel, film, write, and coach. He has a goal of empowering others to grow closer to Jesus in practical and unique ways. After acquiring two degrees in Practical Theology and then studying in Israel for two years, Justin has a passion to help people read the Bible with a deeper appreciation in its original, ancient context. He would not be where he is today without his incredible wife, Lauren! While he's a pastor at heart, he's also an avid pizza lover, metalcore listener, and shot glass collector.

[]
1 Step 1
Contact Me
reCaptcha v3
keyboard_arrow_leftPrevious
Nextkeyboard_arrow_right
FormCraft - WordPress form builder

Follow Me On Social Media

Other Things Justin Does

Subscribe For Updates

Join my mailing list to receive the latest news and updates.

Thanks! You have successfully subscribed!