Over the years, churches have restructured their services … trying to draw new members, younger members.

There was a time when church was formal from the “understood” dress code to the musical selections and musical instruments.

Men went to church wearing suit and tie; women wearing dresses. No blue jeans, no khaki slacks, no blazers, no short sleeve summer blouses or dresses.

I was raised in a church that was considered formal, but your Sunday best might be a clean pair of jeans; we would drive past other churches and I would see my friends wearing freshly pressed cotton slacks.

I once heard a preacher say that the fact that we worship in different ways is like getting the same gift but with different wrapping paper and bows.

So, even churches that might have been “stiff” in the past might now be having guitars and drums accompanying the music; dress codes are so relaxed in some churches that you might even see shorts.

How you worship and where you worship is your choice, and if you don’t like the “standards” or more importantly the preaching, you move on.

Many churches recognize they have to “compete” and find ways to draw and keep new members.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention is giving away guns to accomplish that goal.

Paducah’s Lone Oak Baptist Church is expecting more than 1,000 to attend a service where you will be entered in a raffle to win one of 25 pistols, rifles or shotguns … plus you get a free steak dinner.

It is called the “Second Amendment Celebration” and mixed in with the Gospel will be messages about the right to bear arms.

One calls it “affinity evangelism” … identifying and targeting a specific group, and the church acknowledges it is trying to get the Gospel to “unchurched young rednecks”.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention has hosted 50 similar events at
partner churches and reports almost 1,700 men have made “professions of faith”.

The New York Daily News quoted one source saying “We have found that the number of unchurched men who will show up will be in direct proportion to the number of guns you give away. I can almost tell you the number of me that will show up based on the make and model of the guns.”

Some might be appalled by this approach, but as I said, many churches are changing in ways never before considered.

Then, there’s my friend who asked, What’s next? Cocktails in the pews?

“Judge not, lest ye be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)