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Fad-Driven® Beans

I had just finished reading this article by Scott Hill at FIDE-O when my daughter, who is also my secretary, brought me the mail. This is all I got today. The Fad-Driven® Church has finally come to small-town North Dakota. When I say “small town,” I mean the town I live in, and the town where this church worship center is located about twelve miles away, have a total population of about 6,000. That’s almost one percent of the state population. We live here because it’s peaceful, friendly, and safe – or so we thought.

This particular Fad-Driven® Church, New Life Worship Center, was formerly known as New Life Assembly of God. Pew-hoppers are scary enough, but now we have caffeinated pew-hoppers with a marketing strategy. They have the perfect facility for it. I know, because I was involved in a major remodeling project there several years ago. They bought a vacant mini-mall and turned it into a church, but it still looks like a mall.

In case you can’t read the bags in the picture, the “Traditional” bag is “Biblically Based,” and the “Contemporary” bag is “Relevant.” The Fad-Driven® Church divides the two, whether or not they admit it, or even realize it. There isn’t a bag representing the “Video Café” service. I guess that one is for people who think “Outside the Bag.”

2005-09-08 at 9:30 PM MT | |

Anonymous Doug sayth,

I could use a bag right now. A barf bag! In a recent book, it was pointed out that the church is supposed to be a gathering of believers who share things in common (doctrine, etc). There are other requirements to be a church, but this is one that the buffet line service clearly contradicts.

Would it be fair to call that church several churches meeting in the same facility? This is not unlike a movie theater. You buy your ticket at the same place, then you go to whatever presentation you want to see.

I realize this is a bit of a stretch, but this smorgasborg does not sound anything like Jesus’ description of how Peter’s life would be ultimately affected by his dicipleship in John 21:18. Nowhere are we told that Christianity should lead to a life of comfort, but that is an easier thing to sell.

9/09/2005 3:31 PM  
Blogger Loki Odinsson sayth,

I would call it several churches meeting in the same facility, but I would not describe their purpose as “worship.” It is more like a church outing, to a movie theater as you said, just for fun and fellowship.

Fellowship is all it is, at best. Even then, they are dividing the fellowship into cliques. The young are getting away from the boring old folks, and the old are getting out of raising the younger gneration.

I know a lot of the people involved, and I would say it won't be long before the “Traditional” service is empty. I would even predict that eventually, the “Video Café” service will have higher attendance than the “Contemporary” service.

Yes, I am somewhat cynical. They advertise with gourmet coffee, when instant would be more appropriate.

9/09/2005 5:04 PM  
Blogger Libbie sayth,

featuring hymns? featuring? Is that like guest appearances on Will and Grace? Come to think of it, Will and Grace is pretty relevant, and it even has the word Grace in the title, are they showing it in the video cafe?

Have you heard of niche cell church? It's where people have the brazen gall to club together with people just like them, and call it church. Sounds like a cousin of this venture.

9/22/2005 3:40 PM  
Blogger Loki Odinsson sayth,

Libbie, I have never attended this church, and I never intend to, so I can't say for sure, but I think hymns probably are considered 'guests' rather than an expected part of worship.

I think the 'niche cell church' you describe is a very sad thing. I hate to see the church divided into any groups based on superficial commonalities. I have no problem with the occasional men's, women's, or youth activity, but I like to see worship and Bible study fully integrated in all ways.

I should state one fact: although I think this nonsense reveales an inherant theological shallowness, I know there are people in this church who are truly born again, sincerely love the Lord, and want to do right.

9/22/2005 6:06 PM