For an entire generation, Penny Whistle Park was a nostalgic indoor carnival/amusement park here in Dallas. Rides, games, food, all that. But now there’s a new generation that has no memory or knowledge of it. The building and property has since become a landscaper’s nursery. It’s been a nursery for years now.
Somewhere along the way, Penny Whistle Park lost something and never got it back. I’m guessing that while amusement parks changed and got more sophisticated, the owner(s) chose to cling to nostalgia. Expectations rose higher while Penny Whistle’s delivery on experience didn’t.
This is a post not so much about change as it is about the shifting cloud of relevancy. Being relevant as a church, and remaining relevant, is a moving target. It’s something in constant motion that demands more time and energy … and money … than many (read: most) are willing and able to devote.
Did people in general suddenly lose their appetite for amusement? No. The amusement parks committed to reaching their audience advanced to meet the expectations of a new generation. Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ going to suddenly become untrue? No. The churches committed to reaching lost and “far from God” people will advance to meet a new generation where they are.
Mourning the loss of a beloved amusement park is one thing. Closing the doors of a church that lost its relevancy is quite another. Every day to and from work, I drive right by what used to be Penny Whistle Park … and remember what used to be.