You might have seen advertisements for these in your neck of the woods:
- Churches having laser tag nights for neighborhoods.
- Churches putting in portable climbing walls or bounce houses in the attempt to appear young and hip and exciting.
- Churches trying to get “cooler” and “cooler” with their music selections to have church resemble a rock concert more than a church.
These are not bad in and of themselves. We want churches to be a place for community and we want churches to be a place can indeed be fun for folks. However, I often think this can turn into a “bait and switch” — attracting newcomers with a fun, new thing that is exceptionally culturally relevant and then moving to the serious, “less fun” stuff after they’ve started building relationships and are “hooked.” And I believe churches can get into the trap of trying to add more and more entertainment to keep people coming.
While churches can have rock concerts and Slip-n-Slides and all that stuff, the work of the church is about serving others and trying to live a Jesus-shaped life. One of the things I’ve learned from all of the missional conversation is that it is even more effective to have the church witness by giving of themselves, loving others, and serving. This is what the church is about. And there doesn’t have to be a bait and switch along the way. All in all, it’s a healthier way of doing evangelism.