The Tentative Apologist
7/23/11 at 12:50 PM 0 Comments

Youth pastors who wear cardigans and other obstacles to the Kingdom

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A few months ago I critiqued the Christian Motorcyclists' Association in "The Problem of Uncool Christianity". My argument was straightforward: the CMA is ineffective as a missionary outreach to the biker community because of its uncool image. But I didn't simply curse the darkness, for in my next article, "Cool Christians Riding on The Wildside" I outlined what an effective missionary biker community would look like.

This argument was apparently a deep source of irritation to some of the Christian readers at the Christian Post, or at least to one anonymous reader who calls him/herself "lpepperw". And so in my recent article "'Is J.K. Rowling a witch?' and other vile fundamentalist Christian gossip" Pepper wrote the that I use my

"column and comments like a cyber-bully. But then what can we expect from someone who thinks outlaw motorcycle clubs (to include thugs, murderers, white supremicists etc) have "COOL" But the "Christian Motorcycle Association" is the worthy of two attack articles by Rauser, including pilering their symbol to mock it. (After a supposed sincere conversation with a club member) Look it up on CP. I hate to think of the young minds he is harming, not by challenging beliefs, but by influencing them with his immature bitterness. James 3:1."

This kind of nonsense is so very harmful. As I noted back when I wrote the articles, folks like Pepper must really dislike the biker community because their defense of ineffectual missionary methods ensures that many in that people group will remain unreached.

Imagine the following situation. Let's say that you come to a new church which has an outreach to the local Goth community. However, you soon discover that the outreach has been largely unsuccessful in reaching the Goth community, and it doesn't take much effort to figure out why. The ministry is being run by a fellow who looks and dresses in a remarkably similar way to Stuart Smalley (pictured above). And their outreaches to the Goths consist of potlucks in the church basement.

So you go to the pastor to speak with him. "Mr. Pastor," you say, "this outreach is not effective. Pastor Smalley does not know how to relate to the Goth community. Just look at his cardigan sweater for goodness sake."

Are you "attacking" the youth pastor and his ministry? Are you "mocking" his sweater? Or do you simply care about the Goth community enough to call a spade a spade and make constructive suggestions in how the church can become more effective in carrying out the Great Commission?

Comments like that of Pepper which say things are all right may make us feel better about our efforts. But they do little more than lull a church into further complacency over its own ineffectiveness. Screwtape would be smiling.

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