Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Itch Scratching

Brett McCracken has a phenomenally honest look at the current American church's consumer model of meeting "felt needs."
There are a lot of things that scratch were the average person itches. Things like aspirin, coffee, reality TV, cookies, cigarettes, sleep, sex, and orange juice. To place Christianity in that category of just “one among many” desires that people might have is to do it a monumental injustice. Christianity transcends all that. It is much bigger and above all earthly whims, fads, desires and emotional cravings. If we think we can “sell” it best on the terms of the consumer, we are gravely mistaken.
In the youth ministry world, scratching where teens itch just to get them into the church's building simply isn't a healthy practice. Period. Using the church community as another venue for consumerism to thrive seems to go against everything Jesus proclaimed--that this life is not actually about me, my wants and desires, but about His kingdom, which fulfills all the desires in my life that I didn't even know I had. Yes, it's a fantastic idea to address teens' contexts and speak to issues they are going through. But it feels like putting the cart before the horse when we construct our ministry philosophy on "meeting felt needs."

I worry that in trying to be relevant to the emerging generation, pastors and youth workers might forget that the Gospel is, in itself, the most relevant truth in all of history. That God loves us, that sin has messed everything up, that Jesus offers us life in His kingdom; this message scratches everyone's itch.

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