Over the last week and a half, I read the book, "Pop Goes the Church" by Tim Stevens. Wanted to share a quick review. Liked it a lot. I follow the author on his Blog and Twitter, which gives you a really strong connection to the author that assisted in appreciating the book even more.
- Reading this book will cause people to be really inspired or really frustrated. I don't see much middle ground. I was really excited. However, I personally know people that would have hated this book.
- Jesus did not wear Christian T-Shirts, flaunt his seminary training and speak super-spiritually expecting the culture to connect. He did not learn big words to impress, but not communicate. He did not look for music that was unfamiliar to the culture and then expect people to learn to like it.
- We cannot become leaders that love our traditions more than our people.
- "It has taken the church 2,000 years to make Jesus-the most compelling and attractive person that ever lived-boring!" -Mark Beeson
- People in our culture are searching for God.
- The church is failing them in their search for many reasons (that Stevens unpacks in his book).
- Hence, people search for God in pop culture which ends up shaping their values in incredible ways.
- One hundred years ago, pop entertainment options included a play, an art museum, a symphony or an issue of the Saturday Evening Post.
- Today there are over 500 TV stations, hundreds of musical genres, millions of books and billions of Internet pages. That is not to even mention the massive movie industry, the music industry, the 50 BILLION dollar video game industry, fashion, art, photography and many other creative arts.
I underlined a lot more stuff in this book that I could share, but let me just summarize and finalize the author's main points by saying this:
- If we want to be effective in reaching a lost North America for Jesus Christ, we better know, use and leverage pop culture. It may the only road into some people's world...people that Jesus died for.
- The church needs to take some notes from Paul and Jesus who both were masterful at leveraging culture. Somehow, many churches have decided that they are too sacred to engage the culture around us.
- However we need to keep the goal in mind. We do NOT engage culture to mock other churches, to create buzz for the sake of buzz (author says if you want to do that, hire a lobby stripper and you will pack your church out), nor do we disregard scripture to be edgy.
- Instead we use culture to draw people in, point them to Jesus and let them know that they matter to God.
- Final quote: "Relevancy is a tool, not an objective; a means and not an end. Pop culture changes too quickly to make it a good foe or a longstanding friend."
If you are into pop culture and ministry...this is a book you should read. In reading it, I learned about popular movies, music and TV shows that I never knew a thing about. Learned a few new things about Desperate Housewives, Cold Play, The Beatles and The Office and how any of these might connect people to God! Cool Book!