Leslie Penn wanted to have the freedom to sip a hot cup of coffee and simultaneously be casual and comfortable during the Sunday morning worship service. So when her church, Evangel World Outreach Center in Chicago, opened the Gathering Place – a café that not only serves specialty lattes and mochas in a Starbucks-like setting but also broadcasts Sunday morning services live – Penn immediately felt at home.(emphasis mine)
“I like being a part of the café ambiance,” Penn says. “It’s like a casual, smaller church.”
“The church is a tool,” says Joe Rabideau, overseer of the Bikers Church at Mount Hope Church in Lansing, Mich. “If a cup of coffee or a cappuccino is going to open up a door, then that is a way we can make them feel more comfortable to get the Word of God.”
I can't help but wonder what the actual services are like, what the preaching is like, at these churches. Do they call sin what it is? Sin? Or is sin chucked up to mistakes? Is repentance just one changing one's mind? If they are going to make the "unchurched" this comfortable and provide coffee and a lounge setting to relax in are they really going to risk scaring them off with the idea of hell? Are they going to risk offending someone by calling them a sinner? I doubt it. So what exactly are they preaching? Surely not the Word of God, perhaps the word of Mr. Rick Warren? The PDL gospel and the church growth movement rears it's ugly head again.
PE, August 21, 2005