Carl Trueman has written a humorous and insightful article addressing the trend of “extended adolescence of the Western male.” He takes issue particularly with the emergence of the “Rev. Dave Trendy.”

“This brings me to my serious point: what is it with ministers and Christian leaders who seem to feel a compulsive need to talk about youth culture all the time and to adopt the styles of self-obsessed teenagers in order to demonstrate how `relevant’ their ministries are and how hidebound everybody else’s are? Above all, the arrival among the forty-somethings of the soul patch, that absurdly redundant tuft of hair just below the bottom lip, says it all. That middle-aged ministers think that they are somehow culturally more attuned or useful because they lecture their peers about what kids do or do not believe, and because they adopt the aesthetics and style of the modern metrosexual is a bizarre and sad turn of events.”

Trueman goes on to give a word of encouragement to those of us who are becoming more and more follicly challenged. He says that “baldness is nonetheless a great gift from the Lord, in that it imposes a certain dignity on the ageing process by cutting off the various less dignified options (e.g., ponytails, which shouldn’t be sported by anyone over 30; and mullets which, frankly, should not be sported by anyone, anywhere, anytime. Period.).”

It is a great article. I think it has the potential to produce good discussion on the issue of relevancy in ministry and what that even means. Are there too many pastors trying to be hip and cool in order to achieve relevancy? I believe so. Pastors are bypassing the needs and dynamics of their congregations and communities in order to look like the big trendy churches who seem to attract all the people. It’s ministry in a box. Pastors who subscribe to such a philosophy become nothing more than cultural puppets. Their ministries are dictated by the cultural norms and trends. The saddest aspect of this issue is the fact that there is constant pressure on pastors to adopt these ministry fads. However, people do not need 10 steps to better thinking. They need the gospel. People do not need trendy. They need the Word of God faithfully proclaimed and consistently lived out.

Read Trueman’s article and tell me what you think. And to my fellow balding brethren, “parade your baldness with pride and accept the dignity which your divinely-imposed hair loss brings with it.”

9 Replies to “Cueball and the Trendy Pastor

  1. Jeff, way to steer the conversation back to things worth talking about. Carl was kind of on a tangent or two there.
    As a soul patch-ed gamer, my credibility on issues of personal grooming and extended adolescence are toast before i even begin. (I do wish Carl was open to the idea that “other” is not necessarily bad… should I quote Asimov here, or would that just confirm my ignorance?)
    Regardless, the issue of relevance is huge; and specifically relevance to What and to Whom? It seems that the only relevance worth talking about is one’s relevance to God, to His Word, to His agenda, to His Kingdom. In the end, Christ’s condemning words are “I never knew you.”, giving the idea that it is possible to live a life “under the radar”, so to speak- a completely irrelevant life.
    If one thinks that one’s soul patch makes one more relevant to Christ or to the Gospel, then we can all laugh because it’s absurd and has no bearing on the issue. Rather, is the kingdom of God advancing in one’s sphere of influence? Is one carefully, consistently aligned with what God is doing in the world?
    To stand before God with or without a soul patch- is that the question? I still can’t figure out how soul patches even get into the conversation when we talk about the Kingdom of God- they seem pretty irrelevant in that context. Fidelity to the work of God makes one relevant to people because God is in the people business. If i pursue relevance outside that context, then i’ve missed the point completely.
    Did that make sense?

  2. Yes Dave, that makes sense. I think the soulpatch was tied into the idea of ministers being consumed with looking and sounding cool. Trueman’s point is that far too many pastor’s and possibly Christians are concerned with looking cool to the world in the name of relevance. I think this is most easily detected in youth ministries. There are so many youth pastors concerned with being cool in the eyes of students in order to be “relevant.” What I have seen happen is that students think the YP is fun but they aren’t really listening to anything he is saying. So the YP works against himself and essentially renders himself irrelevant in regard to the gospel.

    I definitely agree that Trueman has his preferences like we all do. We need to be flexible in our forms. Like you said, relevance can only be measured in terms of God. If we are not committed to God, His Word, and living that out then we can count ourselves as irrelevant.

    I think the best way to think of relevance is to consider the gospel. The gospel is ALWAYS relevant. Why? Because we all have the same need. We all need Jesus. We all need salvation. That has not changed from the beginning. Sin has separated all of us from God. But Jesus offers salvation and transformation. He offers a way back to the Father. So we all have the same need because of sin. And the gospel is relevant because it meets that need for us.

  3. Glad you enjoyed it Lauren. I could hear you saying, “I love it!” Hear is the challenge to us as I perceive it:

    What is truly important? What matters most regarding ministry and service to God?

    Of course that is followed up with more questions such as”

    Have we overcomplicated ministry? Have we gotten too big for our britches? Are we too programatic? Does the church seem to function more as a company than a community?

    Come on, we can really make this thing take off! Someone stop me…

  4. My alltime favorite baldness verses in the Bible.

    2 Kings 2:22 So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.

    2:23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.

    2:24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

    Notice the relevance here… The Youths were mocking the bald Prophet.

    I think the soul patch can be allowed… Mostly because we don’t have the power to have bears maul our youth groups anymore. 🙂

  5. Ya…makes you think twice about making fun of bald people.

    I have no problem with the soul patch as well because it may be all I have left when it is all said and done. 🙂

  6. Come to Nashville, TN and start a Church. This, and many upwardly mobile centers of growth are like magnets for the trendy Pastor. I could point you to a dozen of their blogs where they twitter ( post from cell phones ) about their celebrity encounters and $5 coffees.

    These “ministers” are trolling for book deals where they too can synthesise and regurgitate their pop-psycholicious Gospel of ME. Vanity gone to seed, and heavily influenced by media saturation.

  7. Actually Nathan…I do live in Nashville. But maybe you were speaking about Carl. Essentially, I agree. There is a lot of change that needs to take place in Nashville and many other areas.

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