“Pastor, do you know why there’s pallets stacked up in that church?”
One of our church deacons recently had to travel across state in order to attend a funeral at a church for a coworker.
As we visited before our board meeting began this last week, the deacon asked me why a great big beautiful established church, would want to stack up pallets as their platform decor, covering over the old cross, still somewhat visible, behind the pallet decor.
This deacon has been an active member of this local Assembly of God Church where he serves, for over 20 years. So his exposure to much of the latest church trends is limited.
Before I could give an explanation, another deacon, who also attended a funeral of one of his coworkers, began explaining a church platform with industrial wire suspended with burlap sacks hanging from it, and in rows, also covering over the old cross. The conversation was soon on the fast track, as everyone joined in to share the oddities they had found when in other churches.
When it was my turn to speak, I fumbled through an explanation that would not seem too harsh. I believe I said something like this, “they are attempting to be cutting edge with industrial themed interior decorating”.
I hurried the conversation on so we could begin our business, and get off that conversation.
But now, I reflect on the question; why would a church feel the need to decorate their platform with pallets?
Does it portray a gritty realism? Does it communicate to the parishioner that the church’s message is real and relevant to mundane life? Is that what a pallet says? Does a pallet communicate? Does industrial decor on a platform communicate anything? What is the message of the pallets on the platform? Does it matter?
In a day when the church is experiencing such an exodus outside not only the church, but away from the faith, everything we do is open to critique.
We must allow God to search our hearts. What message does it send for thousands of dollars to be spent in order to remove and reorganize the traditional cross up on the back wall, cover over the stained wood veneer, and redecorate 20-30% of our interior space in industrial decor, and leave the rest in commercial modern decor, or if budget does not allow, leaving the rest in whatever 80’s church decor it’s presently in?
The pallets in church communicate that we have lost our footing, and are shuffling for relevancy, to the point of mixed decor themes in our multi-million dollar facilities, all the way to our neighborhood facilities. It communicates a baby-boomer aged generation, experiencing a crisis of disconnect with the next generation and scrambling to ‘connect’ in some way, albeit with worn out wooden pallets.
I believe this generation is screaming out for much more than wood pallets, they’re begging for a moral clarification. This generation deserves to know absolute and objective truth from the church. This generation deserves to have grown men dress like men. Let the senior Pastor be the senior pastor, no one is demanding a 50 year old man dress like a teenager. No one ever asked for the old cross to be covered over by pallets. And, the pallets do communicate, they communicate poor taste, and an incomplete decor package.
They communicate an incomplete gospel. A gospel of empty ‘believism’, a gospel of God loves you, just believe. Don’t stop believing. But a half truth is a lie. The truth is, God loves us so much, he will not leave us suffering in sin. The Truth is, Jesus came preaching, ‘Repent and Believe’. They go hand in hand.
And as I squint to see between the old pallet boards, I can faintly make out the old cross hanging still, hidden, but yet still back there if someone looks hard enough. And that’s how it is today, if souls truly hunger, they may be able to peer through the marketing efforts of the modern church, and find that delivering, saving power in the old rugged cross.
I would like to see the church make herself ready for the return of the Lord. Please follow me on Twitter or Facebook to receive updates as soon as they are available.