|Sterling State Park on Lake Erie, Monroe|
I think the Seeker-Driven Church and the Entertainment Church are slowly losing their appeal with a generation that is far more enamored with and take by the accelerating digital productions secular culture offers.
"Dan Kimball, a youth minister trained at Willow Creek Community Church and Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, began to notice the different temperaments showing up in the younger generation of students attending his meetings. Students who once had been impressed by the fast-paced programming, dramas, media clips and topical messages were showing less interest. "The special effects in the video games they were used to went far beyond what we could offer," noted Kimball. "Their lives were fast paced as it was; coming to church for yet another fast-paced experience was losing its impact."" (In
John Jefferson Davis, Worship and the Reality of God: An Evangelical Theology of Real Presence, Kindle Locations 396-399)
In contrast, what tomorrow's digital venues will never be able to duplicate or compete with is the earth-shattering, awe-inspiring, numinous presence of God. Sadly, today's Seeker-Driven and entertainment churches, in their spiritual and financial investments to compete, have lost sight of our great distinctive, which requires no money, and which cannot be packaged.
"If the biblical Abraham were to visit some of the cozy and comfortable seeker-driven driven worship services of the present day, he might well say of them what he said to Abimelech, the pagan ruler of Gerar: "There is surely no fear of God in this place" (Gen 20:11)." (Davis, Kindle Locations 564-566)
Is that really important?
Without the experiential, existential reality of God's living presence, God-with-us in encounter, power, deliverance, healing, comfort, restoration, grace, mercy, direction, and love..., I would check out of the faith. As will, and as are, the youth Dan Kimball references above.
My current book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.
My book Leading the Presence-Driven Church will hopefully be out this summer.