“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9, KJV).
On more than one ocassion people have told me that I was (or am) the first “cool” Christian they ever met. I think they mean that as a compliment, but I don’t really know. I do know that for many years as a pastor I strived real hard to remove barriers so the unchurched would feel comfortable. I strived to fit in, and not look like a “preacher.” I believed doing so was the best way for my church to be relevant to the culture. I still believe those things. I still don’t want to look like a “preacher.” I don’t want to be offensive to the unsaved and unchurched. The cross of Christ is what should be offensive, not the way we present the message of the gospel.
I don’t want to be offensive.
I want to be accepted.
However, looking back now, and looking around me at the church culture, I think that what I really wanted, and what many other churches want, is not so much to be relevant and non-offensive, rather, what they want is to be cool.
I wanted to be cool.
I wanted to be the next cool church.
I no longer want to be cool.
I want to be odd.
Jesus did not ask His followers to be cool. He asked them to be odd…
…to go against the flow.
…to think outside the box.
…to do the opposite of what the world does.
…to be a “peculiar people.”
I want the target audience of my church to be the down and out. I want my church to be full of odd people, misplaced people, forgotten people, people who need grace. People just like me–the noncool.
I want our programs to be few and far between–that’s odd.
I don’t want our bank account to have more money than we can spend–that’s odd.
I want to live on the edge–that’s odd.
I don’t want our services to run smooth and clean. I would prefer them to be messy and loud–that’s odd.
I want our praise team to make mistakes and stop and start over…and laugh about it–that’s odd.
I want to speak out against the injustice in our community and speak up for those who have no voice–that’s odd.
I could care less who wins the White House because my citizenship is not based here, but elsewhere–that’s odd.
I want our country to be compassionate and willing to help any country who asks, but I don’t want our country to be involved in nation building and unjust wars–that’s odd.
I want to be known, and I want my church to be known, as a people who have been called out by God to walk a different path, reaching an odd group of people.
If you were to visit my church, I hope that at least once you would scratch your head and say, “This is the oddest, most peculiar group of people I have ever seen.”
I no longer want to be cool. I want to be odd.
What about you?