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Home > Trend Watch > 2014 > July 18 > Challenging the Church of Cool

Trend Watch

Perspective on the buzz

Whether your ministry attire consists of skinny jeans, vestments, a thrifted vintage skirt, or 90s-style pleated Dockers, odds are good that you're constantly (though maybe subconsciously) evaluating your—and your congregation's—cool factor to stay relevant. But at what point does the pursuit of Christian hip in service of growth and relevance lose its cool?

Leadership Journal's own Drew Dyck offers some wisdom at the Aspen Group's blog, with "Millennials Need a Bigger God, Not a Hipper Pastor":

There are 80 million Millennials in the U.S.—and approximately the same number of suggestions for how to bring them back to church. But most of the proposals I've heard fall into two camps.
The first goes something like this: The church needs to be more hip and relevant. Drop stodgy traditions. Play louder music. Hire pastors with tattoos and faux-hawks. Few come right out and advocate for this approach. But from pastoral search committees to denominational gatherings to popular conferences, a quest for relevance drives the agenda.
Others demand more fundamental change. They insist the church soften its positions on key doctrines and social issues. Our culture is secularizing. Let's get with the times in order to attract the younger generation, they say. We must abandon supernatural beliefs and restrictive moral teachings. Christianity must "change or die."
I think both approaches are flawed.

Then, Tim Morgan in "It Takes More Than a Swank Coffee Shop to Reach Millennials," an interview with Journalist-author Naomi Schaefer Riley, asks what it will take to draw young people back to Christianity.

Adding cultural color to the discussion is Laura Turner, whose recent piece "Kim and Kanye's Pastor and the Church of Cool" is pretty much about what you think it is, but still worth the read.

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