Imagine that you get an invitation in the mail for a Christmas party that a friend of yours is throwing. Recognizing that people of differing palates will be in attendance, your friend has informed all his potential guests that he will provide two different types of food. There will be, he advertises, stale fruit cake, plain, boring cookies and simple wassail punch. This is, as he describes it, "the Traditional Christmas Food." Then there will be huge, multi-colored five tier cakes that look like they've just been delivered by these guys, giant, mouthwatering cookies in all sorts of unique shapes and deliciously spiced and even more deliciously spiked egg nog. This, he tells you, will be the "Glorious Celebration Christmas Food."
If this were to happen, two things would be rather clear about your friend. Those two things are:
1. He thinks that the Glorious Celebration Christmas Food is better than the Traditional Christmas Food.
2. He is only offering Traditional Christmas Food to appease those people who have not yet figured out, as he has, that Glorious Celebration Christmas Food is the real way to eat at a Christmas party.
Q'Doba will be catering. Then, in the garage, with the 20 inch TV that his son didn't want to take to college and the VCR that he got as a white elephant gift at the Christmas party, the classic films will be playing. Oh, and if you want something to eat or drink, he thinks there might be some promo packs of Sun Chips and a couple lukewarm bottles of Evian in the shed outside.
If this were to happen, two things would be very clear about your friend. Those two things are:
1. He thinks that action movies are better than classic films.
2. He hopes to help people get over their sentimental attachment to classic films by putting all of his resources into the presentation of the action movies.
If this were to happen, three things would be abundantly clear about your friend. Those three things are:
1. He thinks the Praise Service is better than the Traditional Service.
2. He is only offering a Traditional Service to placate those who have not yet figured out, as he has, that the Praise Service is better.
3. He is going to help those people get over their sentimental attachment to the Traditional Service by putting all of his congregation's resources into the presentation of the Praise Service.
2/3 of this post is fiction. 1/3 of it is a true story that happens all the time. Pastors, your people aren't dumb. They don't need to be condescended to and they don't need to be tricked into getting over their supposed ignorance or close mindedness. So if you have to resort to loaded terms and loaded production values, if you have to tip the scales for people when they're not looking, if you can't make an honest, open case for the superiority of contemporary worship, then stop pushing it.
My name is Pastor Hans Fiene. Thanks for reading.