It’s Over – Trends in Churchland by Dan Kimball

I have been liking the TV show “Portlandia“. I am probably more interested in the show because I lived in Portland for a year and I am up there a couple of times a year teaching. I also have family and friends there. I love Portland… apart from the misty rain. BUT…. I found this video clip “It’s Over” so humorously true.

We can get caught up in forms of “It’s Over!” in Churchland.

Generally, out of good intentions, we are looking out for new forms of ministry that will effectively see people come to faith and grow as followers of Jesus. As innovation and excitement becomes the standard, do we begin to feel “It’s Over” and then want to move on?

I remember being challenged and even told how wrong I was about implementing new forms of worship and the use of art in a church. But then 10 years later I visited that church and saw them using the same things in worship they fought against us doing and said was silly. My bad-Dan side was thinking “It’s Over!” If they are now doing this we better then stop. And then I had to realize how dumb and self-centered that thinking was and quickly repented.

At conferences there sometimes can be a “What’s the newest thing?!” feeling out there. Again, out of a good heart and intentions. We want to be serving God on mission and learning what is happening out there. But we also need to discern when our interest moves to more concerns of personal experience or the cool factor or keeping up on things in the evangelical world.

One day will we be saying Multi-Site Video Venues?” – “It’s Over!” …… “Missional?” – “It’s Over!“…… If we look back, I can name several things I think we have done the “It’s Over!” with in Churchland.

I am finding that we must, of course, be scanning the horizon for what is new and what God is doing. I don’t see it as trendy, but if it is effective on mission and doesn’t compromise Scripture then I think we should be using any method if it is appropriate in our context of mission. If I shift from a normal cell phone to a smart-phone, I don’t see that as trendy. I see it as having an effective form of communication. I believe the church naturally should be doing the same with how we go about our mission.

But with the quickness of change that happens in our “normal lives” and also in the church, I am finding myself more immersed in Scripture and theology and truth which is our bedrock. What we know about Jesus comes from Scripture and the witness of those who have gone before us. So our anchor, our understanding of Jesus – is from Scripture primarily. And our theology isn’t trendy (or shouldn’t be). Cultures do change and forms of what we do will change. That is why being grounded in Scripture is so incredibly important. So whether normal cell phones, or smart cell phones or normal church meetings or multi-site meetings – our bedrock and truths we hold are not “It’s Over!” if a new cell phone is designed.

At the same time, I have met and talked with church leaders who put tradition and not changing at such a high value and they would totally be looking at this video of “It’s Over!” and using it for their argument of claiming we all jump on trends and we should just stick with tradition. And as I have now said many times “If tradition gets in the way of mission, it is sin”. If what we do gets in the way of people coming to know Jesus and growing in their faith etc. So just because one doesn’t have an “It’s Over!” experience because they are traditional, does not mean they aren’t trendy. They just stuck with a trend from a certain time in history and then chose not to move from it and when you trace origins of most things we do in church as “tradition” it did actually come from the trend of that time period. So the question is, in those churches (or any church) are we seeing new life, growth, followers of Jesus making a difference in the world etc.?

Some thoughts after seeing this video clip……What will our next “It’s Over!” be in the church. And what are our truths that are never “It’s Over!” even though we may be shifting other things? That is what I believe we have to be paying most attention to midst everything else.

Dan KimballDan Kimball is the author of numerous books, including They Like Jesus But Not the Church. He is also the pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California. This article originally appeared on his blog – He is part of the creative team launching the Origins Project.

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