EUGENE — A minister in Oregon has a launched a sermon series entitled ‘Church S*cks,’ and is announcing seeker-friendly changes to his Sunday services, as a way to attract people who dislike church.
Tony Crank, who leads One Love Church in Eugene, claims that churches talk too much about sin, and are not welcoming enough to visitors.
“Some churches have become the kind of place where you point the finger, and you condemn and rebuke and you’re really quick to do it,” he told television station KVAL. “And so, I think that is definitely lending itself to people not wanting anything to do with church and thinking church s*cks!”
Crank says that he doesn’t want to be considered a preacher, because he does not agree with preaching at people. He states he’d rather be known as only a pastor, and doesn’t want to “waste your time” on Sundays.
“I just like to have a conversation with everyone, just like I do at the coffee shop if we were talking one on one,” he told KTMR.
This past Sunday, Crank shared a story about how his dog urinated on his mother when she came for a visit. He tied the story into his belief that churches are too quick to make people feel bad about their sins. Crank also used the phrase “Don’t get your panties in a bunch” when speaking to the congregation.
One Love Church mailed out hundreds of flyers this month to homes throughout Lane County to announce the series. Crank has also made adjustments to the Sunday services, as sermons will now be kept short to thirty minutes and secular music will be sung at times to accompany the messages, instead of solely worship and hymns. Songs may include those recorded by Katy Perry, known for her hit pro-lesbian song, I Kissed a Girl, and Maroon 5, known for their song Doin’ Dirt.
“There is a perception that to come into church you’ve got to be perfect. Sometimes what that allows people to do is to kind of judge people that we might perceive to not be that kind of stereotypical perfect person. It turns a lot of people off to what the ultimate message of Christ is,” Kyle Cunningham, worship leader at One Love Church, told reporters.
Reaction to the campaign has been mixed.
“First off, I commend this pastor for being open enough to see people that have been hurt by people that take the right to judge–God’s job–into their own hands,” wrote one commenter. “Paul said as long as the Gospel is preached he doesn’t care how it was done. Let’s demonstrate some humility and think of ways to get the unchurched to know Jesus.”
“The Church is the Body of Christ and this pastor says it s*cks,” another stated. “Jesus paid [for us] with His blood, the sinless Son of God, and this pastor thinks he is cool denigrating God in this fashion. You may give him a pass, but Paul would have plenty to say to this man.”
“How heartbreaking for this congregation,” a third remarked. “In his tired search for relevance, this pastor has made that local body like the world and therefore less relevant. My prayers go out to them.”