Are We Trying Too Hard to Be Cool?

There have always been cool churches.  Almost forty years ago, when I first started in ministry, the cool churches had bus ministries.

Then the cool churches sang praise choruses.

Then the cool churches used drums and guitars.

Then the cool churches had small groups.

Then the cool churches used video clips from popular movies in their sermons.

Then the cool churches had preachers who wore jeans and left their shirttails out.

Then the cool churches started calling themselves “missional.”

Then the cool churches decided to create a brand.

Then the cool churches started satellite campuses.

Then the cool churches gave themselves esoteric names like “Shift”  or “Mosaic” or “Strive.”

Then the cool churches started Tweeting and launched their own apps.

Then the cool churches became very edgy, talking about homosexuality and sex and pot and anything else that might cause the old folks to blush and the young folks to slap high fives.

Sometimes I wonder if we try too hard to be cool and not hard enough to be holy.  One of the “coolest” preachers of this generation, Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church), recently published an apology for, basically, trying to be too cool.  By his own admission, his integrity sagged and his vision blurred as he placed too much importance on his image and not enough on his walk with Christ.

I’m convinced that Christianity was never intended to be cool.  Relevant, yes.  But not cool.  True Christianity, it seems to me, should be decidedly uncool in the sense that it doesn’t fit with the pop culture mindset.  It should seem odd, out of step, and sometimes downright weird.  It should produce snickers and punch lines.  It should make some people uncomfortable.  We should be thought of as “peculiar people.”  Wasn’t the Lord we serve the Stone the builders rejected?

That’s not to say we shouldn’t use technology and preach on relevant topics, and if that makes a church seem cool to some,  so be it.  It’s not cool I object to, it’s trying to be cool.  I can’t help wondering if our obsession with being cool has left us with full auditoriums and empty hearts.  I keep reading that the morality of church goers isn’t much different from that of unbelievers…that church goers cohabitate, look at porn and get buried in credit card debt at just about the same rate as nonchurch goers.

Could it be that our desire to be cool keeps us chasing after that which is constantly changing, when God has called us to chase after that which never changes?


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5 Responses to Are We Trying Too Hard to Be Cool?

  1. Marty Young says:

    Amen & Amen. Thanks, Mark(s) – Driscoll & Atteberry. Just in time to cancel my Ear piercing appt for Gauges & tattoo date for arm sleeves. Not sure I cancel my online purchase of skinny jeans. Think they’ve already shipped.
    I do like preaching from my iPad, though.

  2. You know, Mark. You always make me think. What is so good about being cool anyway? But then some Christians moved in the other direction: no make up, long hair, long skirts, etc. Legalism! The truth is a soul led by the Lord may not be cool, but it is at peace. An entire church led by the Lord – priceless.

  3. Sugaree says:

    Our church is really “cool”, but not in the hip sense of the word, like the above mentioned, more like in the excellent sense.

    (In no particular order of “coolness”)

    The children’s ministry is managed by a pretty “cool” lady. She is warm, caring and endearing. She cares for the children as well as the adult members! Love Mrs. Ingie!!! All of the faithful volunteers that help guide our youth, your efforts do not go unappreciated.

    Our ministers are “cool” guys. They don’t put themselves on pedestals. They are down to earth guys who teach and preach from the bible. I always feel like I’m getting an accurate account of the word. You know the sermons are excellent when you feel like they are talking just to you! Sometimes freaky, yes, but keep up the good work Mark and Mike.

    The praise team is “cool.” I mean how many people use their incredible musical talent to praise The Lord? I don’t know the exact stats, but my guess would be, not many. Terry Bradds rocks as well as the rest of the worship team.

    The church family is “cool.” I obviously don’t know everyone, but members take time to cook meals (thanks Tim), organize church events, plan mission trips or the members who show up week after week, month after month humbly serving, thank you, truly! It doesn’t go unnoticed.

    Our family has previously attended churches prior to this one through out the years. We have finally found a church home that helps guide us along our walk with God. Each of us have become better individuals because of it. We have a long way to go, but we are way “cooler” now that we have rooted ourselves in The Lord.


    P.s Good call on ditching the piercings and tattoos. You can always exchange the skinny jeans if you change your mind. LOL!

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