Read: Luke 15:11-32

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. (v. 24)

In America, young twentysomethings have by and large ceased going to church. The way to reverse this unhappy trend, according to some evangelical leaders, is to rebrand Christianity as hip, cool, and culturally savvy. Wanting to appear cool, churches resort to all sorts of gimmickry. Some churches hold worship in bars or nightclubs. Some churches have online worship, where congregations electronically gather at an “iCampus.” Striving to be more technologically cutting-edge, some churches encourage texting, Twitter, and iPhone interaction with the pastor during worship.

There is nothing wrong with churches wanting to be culturally relevant. But are gimmicks going to bring young people back to church? Is that what people really hunger for? I think the younger generation sees through what is slick and glitzy. When it comes to church, I think they don’t want cool as much as they want real.

Two thousand years have come and gone, but the core of the gospel has not changed. Like the prodigal son, we have wandered into a “far country” of piggish rebellion and we need to come home to the Father. We have done wrong and we need to repent. Sin-soaked and sorry, we need to be washed in the blood of Christ. People do not come to church because worship is entertaining, trendy, or hip. They come because the gospel is real and true and life-changing. —Lou Lotz

Prayer: Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.