Jul 8, 2007

The Evolution Jihad

The powers of entertainment and evangelism work side by side to engage the fickle attention of American youth, challenge their vacuous moral commitments and offer them the hope of true freedom in Christ. In this culture, a successful invasion or crusade cannot be made without either of these two elements. You must win the people and then you must show them the truth.

Unfortunately, the attention span of American young people, in college and high school, has shrunk. The window of communication has reshaped itself to be less and less compatible with the full Gospel message as traditionally presented. Shorter sermons, jazzed-up outreach events and increasing outputs of youth-oriented Christian multimedia haven't kept the church in line. More than 80% of young people raised in church will leave, heart and body, before they're done with school.

If Jesus's parable of the single lost sheep out of the 99 can be applied here, the appropriate response is to follow the wayward sheep out of the fold, identify the snares and fetch them back, bringing along those yet to be found. How much more vital is such an expedition if 80 of the flock are gone and countless others linger outside the walls of the fold?

The success of such expeditions has been limited by the cynicism of the flock. This culture has been saturated with Christian-related media, with accurate and inaccurate gospels. Church signs spring Gospel-in-a-box catchphrases on passersby, TBN broadcasts steal 5 seconds of time for the Gospel even from the most disinterested channel surfer, Rick Warren bombards the culture with hope in the form of millions of books sold; Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins even got millions to think of the "End Times." Add to those far-reaching outpourings of Christianity the generally unfriendly attention of Hollywood, where Christian symbols, preachers and slightly skewed renditions of the Gospel make constant appearances as stylistic motifs for movies and television shows.

As a result of this information overload, most young people feel that they know the gist of Christianity. Not only are they sure to know a church-goer, they've seen representatives on book covers, TV and streetside signs. Hence their hesitance in the face of evangelism.