Trending Faith: Can the Church Stay Authentic in Modern Times?

GCU students worshiping at Chapel under the Trending Faith logo

On this week’s Trending Faith, GCU Pastor and Dean of Students Tim Griffin and College of Theology Dean Jason Hiles, PhD, discuss whether churches and their services can remain steadfast in sharing the Gospel while appealing to modern-day followers.

Both Pastor Griffin and Dr. Hiles acknowledge it’s a difficult and tricky position for the modern church to be in. Dr. Hiles referenced many misinterpretations and Pastor Griffin noted the difficulties of understanding Paul’s explanations in 1 Corinthians 9:19-27.

Dr. Hiles explained, “The mentality often is that (as a church leader) if I shift the message into a different format – repackage it – so those who are a little more antagonistic toward the Gospel, (people who) don’t really like things they hear in church, don’t really like the messy stuff about a cross and a risen savior… If I just repackage or reformat this, then more people will be willing to listen.

“The problem is that you can gain a larger crowd or larger audience that way, but once you’ve gathered those people around, you’ve got nothing left to say. You have nothing to offer that they can’t get elsewhere.”

Pastor Griffin noted the various methods and philosophies he observed and participated in during the 1980s and ’90s, in which messages and formats often changed rapidly even among leadership of churches. One congregation, he said, encouraged members not to bring Bibles because the congregation worried new seekers may also not have a book with them.

“It’s really important and a great point about the message not changing as well as approaches around the message,” he said. “It takes great skill and commitment to the right things.”

Both agree that the message for all Christians needs to be that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone.

Watch the full video to hear the discussion:

Want more Trending Faith? Check out the discussion between Pastor Tim and Dr. Hiles about what church is supposed to look like. If you would like the chance to hear your questions answered, email them to or use #trendingfaith.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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