Stop Trying to Make the Gospel Cool

A couple of days ago, I put the below photo up on my Instagram story.

millennials and church

A lot of people asked me to elaborate and explain why I feel this way. So here I am doing just that.

Many young Christians have an obsession with trying to make themselves look cool to the world. Again and again I see people at Christian functions with captions like, “who says you can’t be Christian and cool?” or “and they say Christians are boring!” These statements and others like them are quite problematic for various reasons.

They unveil people’s desire to look cool to the world. Why do we care if the world finds us boring? Why are unbelievers’ opinions of how cool we are so important to us? I begin to wonder if people care because they secretly miss being of the world. Or if they really do believe that being a Christian is lame. It’s like having that friend in school that you’re secretly embarrassed of and you want the cool kids to know you’re still cool even though you’re friends with that person. And that friend is Jesus.

Some of you at this point might be thinking, “that’s ridiculous, we’re not ashamed of Jesus!” But what do you call it when you keep trying to make someone into what they’re not, in order to make yourself look better? Because the thing is, Christianity isn’t cool. Not the world’s definition of cool anyway. Holiness isn’t cool. Abstaining from sex before marriage isn’t cool. Believing in a God you can’t see isn’t cool. Believing that a God came to earth in human form, died and resurrected, isn’t cool. We will never be cool to the world, and we need to stop trying so hard to be.

stop trying to make church cool

The world has enough cool and they don’t need to come to church to look for that. People need to know the love of Jesus Christ, not how “lit” church can be. It’s our job to share the Gospel, not sell the Gospel. I understand tactics. I understand strategy. I understand different methods of evangelism working for different kinds of people. But at the end of the day, we are not the Holy Spirit. We cannot trick people into coming to Christ by advertising to them how cool Christianity is. When our focus is on doing that, we lose sight of the main message we’re preaching.

People don’t get saved because of how cool Christianity is. They get saved because they experience the love of Christ that reveals to them the truth of the Gospel. This doesn’t mean that there can’t be other reasons for being attracted to Christianity in the first place. Some people may decide to go to a church because of how cool it looks, and end up having an encounter with Jesus that changes their lives. These things happen, but we as Christians shouldn’t lose the plot of what we’re called to show the world.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make your church/organisation/event relatable to people. It’s normal when starting a church to ask questions like, “how can we make it enjoyable and relatable?” A question like that seems harmless. But sometimes, what we’re really asking is, “how can we make it a cool church that unbelievers can be attracted to because of how cool it is?” I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. A lot of times we try to come up with ways to make church more “fun” and “cool” and “lit”. So we end up with lit people yet lost souls. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an either-or situation. You can be cool and have fun and be a Christian. I for one think I’m pretty cool. But we just need to be very careful where our focus is at.

I understand that a lot of people who use these phrases aren’t coming from a bad place, or a place of lack of love for Jesus. I understand that some people simply want to debunk the myth that Christianity is boring. But the truth is that it will always seem boring to those who don’t believe. At the end of the day, Christianity isn’t the fun events that we go to. Christianity is the belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

I guess if I were to sum this all up I’d say: let go of your desire to be cool and relevant, and just live your life.