From the grey lady:
Life in Deep Ellum is part of a wave of experimentation around the country by evangelicals to reinvent “church” in an increasingly secular culture, and it comes as the megachurch boom of recent decades, with stadium seating for huge crowds, Jumbotrons and smoke machines, faces strong headwinds. A national decline in church attendance, the struggling economy and the challenges of marketing to millennials have all led to the need for new approaches.
“It’s unsettling for a movement that’s lasted 2,000 years to now find that, ‘Oh, some of the things we always assumed would connect with the community aren’t connecting with everyone in the community in the way they used to,’ ” said Warren Bird, the director of research for the Leadership Network, a firm that tracks church trends.
According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who are not affiliated with any religion is on the rise, including a third of Americans under 30. Even so, 68 percent of unaffiliated Americans say they believe in God, and 41 percent say they pray at least once a month.
The “spiritual but not religious” category is an important audience that evangelical leaders hope to reach in a culture that many believers call “post-Christian.”
It is obvious that, in this particular instance, the church is clearly shirking its duty to God and true believers alike and thereby bringing about the end of the church, at least in its current incarnation. However, the end of the church is not the same as the end of religion, for while this particular evangelical church has definitely left Christ, it has not left religion.
Of course, the church is taking a more “secular” tone, but it still aspires to provoke religious feelings in its members/attendants. Thus, the “post-Christian” world is not a world devoid of religion, but one devoid of the Christian religion. It will likely eventually bear a more than passing resemblance to paganism.
The important thing to note from this story is that it illustrates man’s apparently ineradicable need to engage in religious activity. This attempt at undermining the Christian faith is only able to work because it offers an alternative religion in Christianity’s stead. Man must worship something. If he is not grounded in his religion, he will worship anything. But worship something he must.