From Meg's Pen: The Pitfalls of Making Church Relevant

 But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” ~1 Peter 1:15-16~

A Christian dance! My heart was all aflutter!  I had skipped my own prom for a prayer meeting, knowing that the music would boast sex and drugs, and I would be subjected to the nefarious dancing of hormone-riddled teens.  But now, in my Sophomore years of college,the local chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ announced that they would be holding a winter formal as an evangelistic outreach.

I was ecstatic as we drove to Ann Arbor, listing in my head the bands which they would surely play.  Relient K was a must, probably Switchfoot and Audio A.  They just *had* to play Sadie Hawkin's Dance.  We got lost half a dozen times, and by the time we found parking we had to hoof it a half mile in the snow to the hall (in heels, no less), but it was all worth it.  Because this dance was going to be clean, and fun, and there was going to be awesome Christian music.

Imagine my chagrin as we walked into the dance and the music was blaring, "If you wanna go and get high with me/ smoke an L in the back of the Benzie."  As the night progressed the DJ blared "Baby Got Back," "Tubthumping," and even "Let's Get it On."  In fact, there were perhaps only a handful of songs that did not encourage sex, excessive drinking, and/or drugs.  I was furious, beyond furious.  My friends said, "It isn't a big deal Meg, just try to have fun."

"But God hates these things," I said.  I went to where they were collecting tickets and demanded to speak to whoever was in charge.  They finally found her, and I (lovingly) gave her quite the tongue-lashing.  I was so furious, I was shaking.

Back then I still wore rose-colored glasses, and I had expected so much more from  a Christian ministry.  She offered to refund my ticket.  "That's not the point," I said, "God hates those things."  The woman just shrugged, said she no control over the music, and that it was an outreach ministry.  She did say that the swear words were censored.  Small comfort, indeed.

As the night wore on I danced a few songs and tried to have fun, but I felt sick to my stomach.  Not only was the music encouraging and glorifying sinful acts, it reminded me of many memories from before I was saved, which I would rather forget.

And then, here is the kick in the pants.  As the evening was coming to a close, they turned on the lights and gathered everyone together.  They presented no Gospel message, but instead one of the leaders came up and simply said, "Hey everyone, I hope you guys had fun tonight.  We want you to know that this is all for the glory of God."  And then we closed singing the Christmas song, "Oh Come Let Us Adore Him," (it was right before Christmas break).  I sang, but at the point I was so angry, I felt sick.

Tears dripped from my eyes as I sang, and I wondered at the hypocrisy of this group, who encouraged all in attendance to spend the night in lascivious revelry, and then attempt to honor God at the end.

Was I over-reacting?  Absolutely not.

Listen, people: use your heads!  How can reach a lost and dying people, bound for hell, by pouring more sin upon their lips?  This dance was meant to be an evangelistic outreach.  But we could have gotten the equivalent experience at the local club, better perhaps.  There was absolutely nothing about that night that made God seem better or different than the world.

Those who are unsaved are living in a desert of death.  It was like we were giving them more sand instead of Living Water.  This is an issue I have seen over and over again at evangelistic events.  It is even a trap I have fallen in myself.

I am not here to stand on my proverbial soap box and decry all the evil churches who have made poor attempts at becoming relevant to a new generation.  What I am saying, however, is that we need to get on our knees and beg for wisdom from the Lord on how to go about reaching a culture who vehemently hates the things of God.  It will not be easy, nor are we capable of our own volition.

Being relevant to our society is one of our responsibilities as good stewards of the Gospel.  We are to strive to share the truth in a way that is both accessible and understandable.  However, we cannot celebrate sin or submerse ourselves in vices in the name of "bonding with unbelievers."

How much greater will we shine when we can have fun, genuine fun, listening to clean music, that does not encourage us to get caught up in the throes of lust?  How much greater will we shine when we can do things differently than the world and still enjoy ourselves?  How much greater will we shine when we can be jovial whilst obeying the commands that God has placed before us?

That is what makes the God we serve seem different.  That is what people see, and there hearts are stirred.  Relevancy is a lot of things, but it certainly isn't rejoicing in iniquity.

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