Jordan Bloom brings the news that Pastor John Hagee’s San Antonio megachurch is about to launch a $5 million children’s exhibit onto the world, filled with animatronic animals. Excerpt:

On the inside, it has Noah’s Ark built into its walls and roof, a two-story ship with 16 life-sized passengers — most with animatronic features, including a giraffe whose head bends from the floor to the second level.

Why? You guessed it: to be relevant. Jordan comments:

The writer goes on to quote a “children’s ministry expert”–an editor of Children’s Ministry Magazinewho says it’s a great idea that the church is “competing with things that capture kids’ attention.”

Such is the prevailing wisdom of children’s ministry advocates today. It dovetails with the view that a main goal of youth ministry is to create a “safe” environment for kids to socialize with other Christians. Matthew Hagee says it himself–he wants to “incentivize” children like casinos “incentivize” gamblers. Bring the kids in with flashy theatrics and animatronic animals, and hope they stay for the five-minute testimonials and worship band.

Five million dollars for an animatronic Noah’s Ark exhibit. It’s not the expense that amazes, it’s the concept. St. Poochie, ora pro nobis.