Marva Dawn, in her work A Royal Waste of Time writes:
If television is causing people to be dissatisfied with the worship of our churches, should we change worship to be more like television — or should the splendor of our worship cause people to ask better questions about television?
Here is a fundamental question that should affect our worship and our preaching. Are we seeking to entertain the world by changing our methods to “reach them” which only seek to remove our chance of “changing them?” Stated in a more “biblical” way, can we truly aid the transformation of society and individuals by being “conformed” to the ways of society?
Felt Needs and God’s Kingdom
Does simply giving in to the demands of society’s “felt needs” promote the transformation called for by the gospel? Does merely filling the pews with those seeking what they want really promote God’s coming kingdom? These are the questions that Dawn’s question forces us to ask.
As prophets/preachers we are called to confront that which is not like God. We are called to love truth and people enough to tell the truth. We are not called to pander to their wants and lower the standards of truth to “entertain” all.
Even the pastoral concerns of applying the healing balm of God’s presence to the hurting can be set aside by the demand to “entertain.” In short, healing cannot happen and neither can transformation happen (are they not related?) unless we recognize that it is exactly the “felt needs” that need changing. Some will listen, some will not, but it is better to facilitate the change of a few than to comfort the many in their false religion-induced delusion.