Today I was reading Acts 17 and it is amazing how Paul uses the local culture of the time to reach people. I think there is a big disconnect in churches about using the culture of the time in church. Well, ok, actually more than a disconnect, there can be major arguments on the subject!
Many churches are using secular songs and video to make a point in relation to a subject they are trying to teach. Now before we go further I will say secular songs for the sake of doing them to me has no point, but if they relate to a message I think there can be good reason backed by Paul in this case.
People often think that secular media in church can be seen as sin or just wrong to God but I believe that if we truly want to meet people where they are especially people that are not Christians then it needs to be considered. Starting in Acts 17:16 and onward Paul talks about how he walked around and saw the various idols and how distressed it made him. So I believe that we can’t close our eyes to the world and what is going on, we can be distressed by it, but we should not ignore it.
In Acts 17:28 Paul even quotes a poet of the time to help people relate to his message. So what you say? Poets of that time are like rockstars of our time. Meaning if a preacher uses lyrics from a secular band for example to make a point relating to the message I believe it is completely biblical, as long as there is a point and it points people back to Jesus.
Not everyone grew up in church, so it is hard for some people to even darken the door of a church let alone sit through a sermon. Often we can use big words and sing songs that non believers just don’t know or understand. Using a reference that they may know and understand to help drive a point home could be crucial to a person giving the church another chance and help them feel that, yes, this “Christianity thing” is relevant.
I know there are various arguments on both sides of this but that is where I fall.
In worship, will I play a Maroon 5, Bon Jovi or Linkin Park song? Maybe not, but if the song is fitting like “Somewhere I Belong” (from Linkin Park) or whatever song/band, I may consider it. But I will not unless it was decided, not just because it could fit the message, but also if the idea was prayed about by the worship leader/pastor, etc.
For those wondering here is part of Somewhere I Belong:
“I want to heal/I want to feel what I thought was never real/I want to let go of the pain I’ve held so long/(Erase all the pain ’til it’s gone)/I want to heal/I want to feel like I’m close to something real/I want to find something I’ve wanted all along/Somewhere I belong”
I think that can be very fitting for a message.
What thoughts do you have? Where do you stand?