By Caleb Keith –
The New MacBook is one fine piece of aluminum; it is sleeker and thinner than any laptop before it. Best of all, the new Mac is incredibly simple. There is only one port for both charging and data transfer, a humble 1.1ghz processor and an elegantly sharp retina display. This adds up to a computer that masters the art of web browsing and document creation. However, this new Mac will struggle to edit photos or videos and will come to a standstill if you’re running more than five applications at a time. On top of that, this new Mac is nearly impossible to fix on your own. This computer was not made for the power user or the tinkerer; no, it was made for the common man.
Now you’re asking how does any of this relate back to my church? The answer lies in one word, “simplicity.” The church exists in its simplest form as, “where the Word is proclaimed and the sacraments administered.” (Augsburg Confession, Art. V) Sounds pretty simple, right? Walk into almost any church and you’ll find it’s a little more complex than that. What kind of music is playing, who’s preaching, how big is the congregation, is it open or closed communion, is it high-church, is it low-church, and a thousand other questions may arise. Bringing things back to the computer world it could be asked: which has the best specifications, the cleanest operating system, and the right sense of style? Pastors become the power users and theologians are the tinkerers, and then there is everybody else somewhere in-between.
Just like the new Mac, the Gospel was made for the common man. Christ did all the work; He died and rose so that you may live. In the most simple and beautiful way, the Gospel saves. This does not make the complexity of church bad; it just doesn’t make the Gospel any sexier. Just like a new MacBook doesn’t need more USB ports or bigger processor, the church doesn’t need louder drums or more fragrant incense. Churches often ask themselves: what are we doing wrong, why aren’t we growing, and where are the youth? The proposed solutions to these questions are often: add a new service that is relevant, or make our doctrine more clear.
Perhaps the solution isn’t in the style of service, the length of the preaching, or the communion policy. Maybe the answer is just a whole lot simpler than any of those complexities. The pure Gospel is already complete and sexier than any laptop ever will be. Churches should stop asking if they are big enough, and start asking if the Gospel being proclaimed every day. The answer to this simple question isn’t found in the style of musicality, it isn’t found in the style at all. It IS found in the proclamation of the Gospel, which is simple enough for even infants to be saved. Whether it’s technology of theology the raw essentials done in their most elegant, and simple way often grab the most attention.