Revolution will not launch for another six days (August 31st at 7pm at the Old PHS Gym on Waller Street) but already we have faced a great deal of criticism. One area church refused to partner with us because they believe we are too conservative while another backed away from us from being too radical. Thus, we are already taking shots from both sides.
One of the consistent criticisms has been our use of the motto ‘Revolution: Church That Doesn’t Suck!’ Many area Christians feel we are saying that their church ‘sucks’ or that we are simply using inappropriate language.
First of all, let me make it clear that the leadership team of Revolution in no way believes that we are infallible. We are largely a bunch of young puritan punkers who will make mistakes. If we have already made them then hopefully God will make that clear and we will apologize for them.
Second, if you are one of those Christians who is offended then please hear me out. We are trying to reach two lost generations. What do I mean by that? An in depth survey by the Billy Graham Center at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary found that more than 66% of Americans born before 1945 call themselves Christians–that’s awesome. However, they found that only about 33% of those born between 1945 and 1962 identify themselves as disciples of Christ–that’s a serious drop off. Yet, that generation is darn near puritan compared to the following generations. Only 15% of the so-called Gen-X’ers, or those born between 1962-1979, are willing to wear the badge of ‘Christian’ and, are you ready for this, only 3% of those born between 1980 and 1992 will identify themselves with Christ. Shocked yet? Wait, there’s more.
Last year George Barna, a Christian pollster, released a sobering survey. Barna polled one of those two ‘lost generations’ asking them about their view of Christianity and here is what he found–only 16% of them have a favorable view of Christianity! 16% of Americans 16-29 have a favorable view of our churches! When pressed for more details 87% stated that the church is “full of hypocrites”, 78% described churches as too “old fashioned”, 75% believe the church is too “political”. A whopping 90% believe the church is “anti-homosexual.”
I’ll take a minute to let all of that sink in.
Oh, and if you don’t believe me then pick up the book ‘Unchristian’ by Barna pollsters Dave Kinnamann and Gabe Lyons.
The leadership team of Revolution has been convicted by the Holy Spirit to go after the lost generations by planting a very different kind of church. So, when we say ‘church sucks’ we are talking about these generations’ view of the church. We hope to meet them where they are BUT we will refuse to leave them there. We want to disciple them!
Yet, some have objected that if you use language like ‘church sucks’ then you will only attract a lot angry “de-churched” young people (i.e., those who love Jesus but have stopped regularly attending a church because they are mad about someting). I agree and, in fact, hope we do attract them. I mean, if they are angry then at least they care! BUT, rest assured, we will not allow Revolution to become a place where young people come to grumble and complain about other churches while feeling self-righteous for attending the young, hip, cool church. The people we are seeking obviously do not like most if not all churches for whatever reasons and, let’s face it, all churches have issues this side of the second coming, but we hope to re-focus that anger into true discipleship.
Now, you may disagree with all of this but please know that our intentions are only to serve the Kingdom and that we truly believe we are being led by the Holy Spirit. You may object that we cannot be led by the Holy Spirit if we use harsh language but I would gently remind you that Martin Luther regularly used profanity from the puplit, that John the Baptist, Paul and Jesus himself used language that was considered in their day to be very harsh (“vipers”, “your father is the devil”, etc.)
Also know that the leadership of Revolution will be praying for ALL area churches and will discourage any standing member of another church from leaving that church to attend ours UNLESS they state unequivocally that it is either Revolution or nothing!
Finally, if you are one of those who are not attending church or about to leave a church then please check out Revolution this week. AND let me make this very clear, we welcome all just as they are! Whether you are a 60-year old construction worker with a John Deer hat and a ring in your jeans from carrying a can of Copenhagen or an 18-year old skater punk with a Slipknot shirt or a 50 year old small business owner in khakis or a 21 year old single mom struggling to make ends meet, you are welcome at Revolution but, be warned, we are not here to put on a show for you, we are here to challenge you to follow King Jesus to storm the gates of hell if necessary. If you have the guts for all that then check us out next Sunday at 7pm at the Old PHS Gym on Waller Street and to those who are angry with us, we will be praying for you.
Grace and peace to all of you.
By Matt Rawlings, Leadership Team of Revolution.