It never fails. Every Fall, anyone with a television could tell you that each and every network is selling practically the exact same thing. The “best, new, original programming the entertainment world has ever seen.” At least until those shows actually get seen by viewers, and the carnage begins.
For all the hype of all the new shows that will air this Fall, very few will make it to a second season. Even fewer will make an impact on our national radar. After all, who remembers ‘Lonestar’? Or ‘Running Wilde’? Not too many, I’m afraid.
It’s a funny thing (funny unless you’re network executive, I suppose) but the truth is the church deals with something pretty similar as well.
Every Fall you’ll see churches advertise things as new, or exciting, or something that you just can’t miss. And I don’t disagree with that last one. But it’s a tough thing.
If you know anything about the church, you know that what we have really isn’t all that new. It’s been around for over 2,000 years. There aren’t too many parts of the world that consider something a couple of centuries old to be new. And there’s the rub.
We all like new. We all are interested in new or even especially new and improved. That’s why TV networks trot out the same formula shows but dress them up in new and improved clothing.
Everyone does it. It’s time honored and proven to work, not just in entertainment fields, but in so many areas of our life. How should the church respond?
It’s tempting to do the same. And, contrary to the opinions of some, the church actually has done some new things in the last few centuries. Contemporary worship, different translations of the Bible, using social media are just a few ‘new’ things that have been a blessing to the church and to those who attend them.
But at the heart of these great new things, is a message that hasn’t changed. And it really doesn’t have to. After all, isn’t it always a good year to talk about grace, and hope, and love? Isn’t peace always in season?
One of the many great things about Jesus, is that His message speaks to us today as much as it ever did. It doesn’t need to be improved. It really can’t be.
So, this Fall, as you consider sampling a new TV show or two, I’d really urge you to sample a church or two as well. Doesn’t matter if it’s new, or 100 years old. If they’re talking about Jesus at it, it’s a message worth hearing again and again and again.