It doesn’t matter that it used to work, or that it used to be right. Today’s reality is that it doesn’t work any more, so it’s not right any more.
Thus endeth the typesetting history lesson.
Now, back to today’s church methods.
Don’t Let the Method Hurt the Message
If I wrote my blog posts using two spaces between sentences, it wouldn’t change my content one bit. And the content is all that matters. But it would change something very important – how people read my content.
Double-spacing would draw attention to itself and away from the content, putting an unnecessary gap (literally) between my content and people’s ability to read it. Why would I use a method that does that? Why would anyone?
But we do that in church all the time. We insist on using methods that have long outlived their usefulness, often while loudly insisting that methods don’t matter.
But if methods don’t matter, clinging to old methods is just as problematic as insisting that new ones will lead us to revival and renewal. (And vice versa.)
We agree that the content is all that matters. After all, no one has ever read a book and exclaimed “That story moved me so deeply! The way the author single-spaced between sentences was profoundly touching!”
But, if the author used double-spacing, someone might say “I didn’t like the book. I don’t know why, but it just seemed hard to read.” I know that’s true because I’ve heard people say that after reading blog posts and emails with double-spacing. They may not even know what’s wrong, but something feels off.
The methods we use in the church need to adapt. Not to compromise our message – never to to do that! But so that the unchanging, uncompromised message won’t be hamstrung by outmoded, hard-to-comprehend methods.
Why I Change My Methods
I regularly change the methods I use to communicate the gospel. Not because those methods will save anyone. Only the good news of Jesus will do that. We need to change our methods for the same reason I wrote this post using single-spacing – because bad methods get in the way of the message.