Uncomfortable with How Real This Is

Wendy and I went through a phase where we were watching Kitchen Nightmares all the time.  If you haven’t seen the show, here is what happens.  It has a clear formula.  Chief Gordon Ramsey finds a resturant that stinks.  It is usually dirty and poorly managed.  Ramsey invades the resturant, teaches them to use fresh ingredients, forces them to clean, breaks down the manager until he/she repents for being the problem, installs a new menu, and finally guts the joint and makes it look shinny new.  At the end of the show someone cries and talks about how awesome Ramsey is.  Wendy and I watched the show on Hulu for about a month and then got sick of the formula.

As we watched it we often joked that one could create a Church Nightmares show and reproduce attractional church with a simple formula.  This conversation often made us incredibly uncomfortable so we would wrap it up quickly.  We didn’t like how possible a show like that would be with the current model of contemporary church.  It made us feel icky.

So today I was reading blogs and Stuff Christians Like had this video from the North Point Media team: http://vimeo.com/11501569

It makes me really sad.  We all know there is a formula, but you’re not supposed to talk about it.  It’s the elephant in the room.

But now that it is out there…

How does this video make you feel?

This formula (the video only shows a piece of it) is one of the reasons Wendy and I left the contemporary church to find something different.  I will write more on it later…right now I feel a little gross.

Uncomfortable with How Real This Is

9 thoughts on “Uncomfortable with How Real This Is

  1. Dude, I am so confused by that video. It’s awesomely done, but why would North Point create such a scathing critique of themselves? It’s actually on their stage and (apparently) uses Andy Stanley’s own chair and table. I was very hesitant to forward it it’s so mean…but North Point created it. I’m so confused.

    1. jeffandwendy says:

      Me to dude. It’s like someone pulled the current on the Great and Powerful Oz…but in a very gross way.

  2. The point — and I’m finally learning this as a pastor — is that without the work of the Holy Spirit in room, none of the technology matters. “My” greatest homelitical efforts will fall flat on the floor if it all about getting myself heard. Furthermore, 5 people in a living room singing along to a video on T.V. can grow into disciples and revolutionize their town if they are seeking hard after God. So can 12,000 at North Point. It is not about the style, traditions or the order of service. It is all about serving for an audience of One.

    1. I would agree.

      I would love to see how this was used in the service that day… I have an idea of what happened, but I would love to have seen the full context of this video.

      Way back in the day, I worked at a mega church that is still growing rapidly. As a church, we had people constantly throwing stones at us, saying things like “they just entertain people” or “they just try to get people in the door” or other things like that. Did we have our faults? Absolutely. However, I also got to see first hand how the holy spirit was changing lives through the church.

      Now, would I do ministry that way in the Baltimore area? No… it is not a good contextual fit for up here, but for the Atlanta suburbs it fit fairly well.

      I have a feeling that Andy was speaking out on the danger of formulaic church just as much as you are, Jeff… he just is doing it in a much different context.

  3. Angela says:

    Okay, so while disturbing, I couldn’t help but laugh at it. I guess that’s bad but I found it hilarious.

    1. jeffandwendy says:

      Yeah…it is funny as well. Especially when the announcement guy comes out. “Now I will extend my arms to show my tatatoo to hint that I have a past…” that really made me laugh. But laugh like watching someone in a wheel chair get in an accident…not good laughter.

  4. The Bishop says:

    The key word here is motivation. What is the motivation of the music team (to sell records), the pastor (stroke his ego or sell a book), and the congregation (to worship Jesus individually and corporately, or consume the service with no intent on taking anything from the service beyond the doors)? If the motivation of those leading a service is truly worship Jesus, then what is the problem? And for the record, I had black (and silver) framed glasses before they were cool.

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