Ben Arment, who organized WiBo and is a good friend, attended my church for a few Sundays. One comment of his stood out to me. He was struck by how different I was on Sunday mornings compared to the way I might be on Thursday afternoon over a cup of coffee. He wasn’t accusing me of hypocrisy (or so he said), rather he was noting an intentional shift in tone and demeanor. Whereas I’ll be sarcastic and (attempt to be) funny in personal chit-chat with a friend, I am much more reserved and measured in my preaching and leading of the church. In short, I’m much less cool.
All of that is intentional. It’s not too hard to draw a crowd, methadone clinics and brothels do it all the time. You could flash the tats and play some rock music and preach funny sermons and I promise you’ll get a crowd if you do it well. But I think if I do that, I’ve obscured Christ and drawn people to myself and my personality. I’d much rather step back, tone down my largish personality, and try to draw attention to Jesus. The crowds looking for a show may not enjoy it as much, but in my experience desperate people who are looking for mercy rarely care about the kind of music you sing. They care about the Savior you hold out to them.
What do you think about this? Should there be a difference in the way we handle ourselves in and out of the pulpit? At what point is it crossing the line and distracting people from Jesus?
Read Mike’s article Contemplating Cool for more insight into this. I think Mike highlights some excellent things to consider regarding the relationship between ‘coolness’ and the Gospel.