They say that, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” But, I am not so sure that is true. Sometimes all it takes is to make something a little better not necessarily something new.
The other night I was conversing with my aunt about all of the things the digital phone seems to be making obsolete…Calendars, cassette tapes and recorders, letters, paper, pens, TV’s, stereos, flashlights, travel agents, movie theaters, postage stamps, places to pay bills. When was the last time you stood in line to pay an electric bill or a gas bill? Books, newspapers, cameras, watches and clocks are all at risk. When was the last occasion you called 853-1212 to see what time it was? The digital phone is even replacing, well, phones, land-line phones. You get the point, and there are likely hundreds if not thousands more examples. So, the death toll rises.
Only a few are able to raise themselves up from the tar pit, wash themselves off and repurpose their agendas. Kodak and Polaroid couldn’t do it. Things do not look good for the likes of JCPenney and Kmart. The Pony Express was not one of those fortunate industries. My friend has stated that, “in Texas, when a horse dies, we dismount.” Good principle, and point taken, but, I would insist, “if you are a worthy warrior, you find another mount and finish the charge.”
So, what about the Church? Is the Church still relevant? It seems, at times, we are losing traction.
The truth is the culture is changing. People are doing church on their phones. They are receiving collegiate degrees on their tablets. They order Bible classes, pizza, and studies online. Ailing businesses and institutions either change and repurpose, or slip into the great tarpit of obscurity. The culture is changing, that is true…Challenges are huge. We need to ask, “Does the Church need to adapt?” or even, “Is there a place for the Church in the 21st Century?”
The Church has been put through the wringer in the last several years, our “stock price” has taken a hit, and now it seems that we are struggling for relevance in the modern world, at least from the world’s perspective. Those same digital devices, which are “doing in” many industries, are also the culprits of consuming so much time; some of which used to be spent, no doubt, in Church.
But, we still have something no other institution has: the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the good news for lost souls. Mankind’s sure and certain hope is in the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ, which has been entrusted to the Church. There is no other Name under Heaven by which one must be saved.
Ideas will come and ideas will go. But we have been privileged with the greatest message ever, which will never be replaced with something better. I hope to take my last breaths serving in this movement of God; the Church, built upon the foundation of Truth…the Word of the Lord.
Isaiah 40:8 confirms, “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” All Truth. All God’s truth is forever; it will transcend this life.
And 1 Peter 1:25 says, “’BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.’ And this is the word which was preached to you.” This word, this precious Gospel is that which has invited us into new life in Christ.
As you do, I love God, have a zeal for Christ, a devotion to the Word, a passion for the Gospel, and a heart for the lost. We are not sure of the trajectory, or the longevity of the American Church, but we are in place at this very moment, and have a special place in our hearts for those needing salvation. Our message is still the same; we may need to work harder at communicating to subsequent generations, but it’s still the best thing going.
Yes, we are seeking to identify our current relevance in this task. We are trying to chart our new course. We seek a new horse, or vehicle maybe, but our message will not change. We are not necessarily seeking to invent something new, simply to help make something better where we can in order to win souls with the timeless, proven news of salvation. We have nothing “new and improved” to offer the world. Only the same beautiful promise to someone who embraces Christ: pure eternal life with God.
As my friend says: “All I know is that God is good, the Bible is true, the Gospel is redemptive, the Bride is beautiful, the Time is short, the Mission is clear, Prayer is powerful and the Eternal Kingdom is near!”
Our calling is clear: Let ‘em know that!
That is something that will never be replaced by digital genius; there is no app for that!