In the Wall Street Journal, 27-year old evangelical Brett McCracken suggests churches shouldn’t try so hard to be cool:
If the evangelical Christian leadership thinks that “cool Christianity” is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken. As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don’t want cool as much as we want real.
If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it’s easy or trendy or popular. It’s because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It’s because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It’s not because we want more of the same.
McCracken sounds like he is suggesting the church should be counter-cultural rather than go along with the culture. This seems fairly obvious given the radical message of Christianity – it is difficult to reconcile this with today’s American culture. But churches also want to attract members and the glitzy and glamorous ways to do this seem attractive.
Follow-up questions: does this approach from churches lead to long-lasting attendance or spiritual growth? Is “real” what most emerging adults are looking for in church and religion? And what is “real” anyway?
McCracken recently published a book titled Hipster Christianity that further examines this issue.