1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I (the apostle Paul) am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.
Paul understood his calling to proclaim the gospel to those outside of Israel where the population was mostly Gentile (those outside the law) – not Jewish. As such he adapted his approach to suit the community he was trying to reach. His is an example we would do well to imitate.
This past weekend I attended our Lutheran regional (synod) gathering. There was a young clergy couple (church planters from Arkansas) who offered some very interesting observations about trends they are seeing in the church. One trend that particularly got my attention was the growth of “on-demand” faith. Just as people stream shows/movies when they want, they are increasingly engaging faith “on demand” – via podcasts, recorded streaming worship, YouTube, TikTok, and so on. The numbers of people committed to being at a particular church location at a particular worship time is decreasing as Sunday is no longer considered “sacred”. Many other things are scheduled for Sundays and, given a choice, people are increasingly choosing to do something else on Sunday mornings.
Many younger people are also wanting the freedom and flexibility to engage faith when it makes sense for their schedule, their family situation, and so on. By and large our churches are not designed to function in a way that connects well with this expectation. So I’m thinking about our passage for today. How might the apostle Paul encourage us to respond to these fundamental cultural shifts.
Dear Lord Jesus, our world is changing. Rapidly. Help your Church to engage people where they are rather than where we’d like them to be. Amen.
One thought on “Faith that is “on-demand”…”
It isn’t just young people that are doing it. I regularly watch a YouTube faith video or listen to a sermon outside of Sundays. FYI – your sermons haven’t been uploaded in the Rejoice app since Easter.