"Son Bucks" -- Making Jesus Too Relevant?

Just came back from the Annual Conference of the Alaska United Methodist Church. We are "RETHINKING CHURCH." We are being "REAL." We are looking at the 28-35 year old younger persons. We are looking at media and websites. We are stressing relationships and hospitality and integrity. And it's all for the purpose of sharing with the world the message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who calls us and sends us out into the world as missionaries for him. Simple, huh?

Well, one of the problems with being church, even at little Girdwood Chapel, is the delicate balance of proclaiming the message of Christ in a culturally relevant way. There is a culture "out there" with its own language and systems. That's the culture that needs to hear about Jesus and be challenged into a greater discipleship in his name. However, how do we do that in such a way that doesn't diminish the message of Jesus?

We live as a Christian church in the United States with a whole lot of mega-Churches out there -- and some even up here in Alaska. And you can here phenomenal messages and awesome music and they can have a group to meet every need. As a small church, there are parts of this that look real attractive to us. The bright lights and the loud music and video and the gyms and the giant mission trips...they are enticing. And, not in a bad way. There is some really good stuff for God taking place in these churches.

Now, I've been to Willow Creek near Chicago. I've been to Church of the Resurrection UMC outside of Kansas City. I've been to Community Church of Joy in Phoenix. And, at each of these, I've had a great time, a learning time, and have come back to my local congregation inspired by what Christians are doing for the sake of the kingdom.

However....however....isn't there, perhaps, some line, somewhere, that's too far? I don't know.

Jeff Keilholtz over at Z Magazine comments on the picture above in a 2008 post:

The sign above the coffee shop at Faith Church in New Milfield, Connecticut says, Son-Bucks. No, it’s not Starbucks, although the color scheme and design are identical, only with Jesus in the middle. Faith [Mega]Church is colossal. Its bookstore is full of merchandise, school supplies, etc. The Faith Church website assures worshipers its “bookstore offers Biblical information in the form of books, tapes, and topical scriptures….” Some noted authors? Well, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, T.D. Jakes, and Joyce Meyer. Church on church marketing. Christ with commerce. A sales strategy if “He” ever saw one.
So, is this too far?