In today’s episode, the guys talk about why today’s “cool” churches are, in fact, very uncool. The presence of these churches is a pandemic today, and to understand it, we first need to clarify what the problem with these churches is. The churches are marked by a number of common characteristics, including a pastoral focus on self-glory rather than God’s glory, an aim for relevance and fans/followers instead of reverence and converts, and a pervasive sense of consumerism both in the leadership and the pews. They tend not to call out sin in the hearts of hearers or urge people to repentance, and have a “feel good” vibe rather than a gracious and uncompromising commitment to truth. Celebrity pastors could be compared to a Christianized Tony Robbins – that is, their message is one of self-help, being more influential, and overcoming challenges to get to the next level. In today’s “cool” churches, people reject what opposes their own ideas about who God is, and there is a clear connection between unhealthy pastors and unhealthy sheep. The churches are also now in a season of shrinking; after all, they will never be able to outperform culture, or to keep entertainment value high enough to hold attention.
In light of the prevalence of such churches, what should believers look for when discerning whether or not a church is healthy? The guys offer several indications of church health, including fear of God, exposition of the whole Bible, a pattern of service, a commitment to church membership (with membership implying service and discipleship), evangelistic zeal, and accountability among the church leaders. Further, the guys affirm, a healthy church will be marked by regular congregational practices: confession and repentance, opening the Word of God together, and taking Communion. Ultimately, both motivation and content are crucial concerns as a believer considers a church. If any listeners find themselves thinking their own churches are unhealthy, the guys recommend first taking certain steps toward a solution. If that does not work, though, they should try to find a church where Christ is truly the center.