Church and Entertainment

“Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.’”-John 4:46-48
I love a good movie. I was watching a movie recently that was supposed to be amazing, but I really was not that impressed. The characters were good and the writing was decent, but the music was not good at all. The music was even written and performed by a popular artist. I was disappointed that the music did not match up to what I was looking for.
I know I shouldn’t watch a movie for music, but when the soundtrack is written by someone I appreciate for artistry, my expectations get higher than normal.
I was actually tempted to turn it off, but I decided to work through the music and find a decent story with a plot twist that I enjoyed.
It seems to me, more and more, people are looking for the entertainment factor in church. They are constantly looking for the next “wow factor” or event that will bring them to an emotional frenzy.
People are waiting for the pastor to give some flare and pizazz to their preaching in order to stir up some good feelings or make them want to tune in more. They want the intro video that will catch their eye, they want the music that will get them moving (it could be hymns or contemporary) , and they are waiting for the next big thing to happen and when the entertainment flavor runs out or they just aren’t as “inspired” as before, they go looking for the better show.
To be honest, this goes for all generations.
Even older generations that say, “Well, I don’t want to go to that church. They lose me in their flashing lights and loud music. The preacher wears skinny jeans and has perfect hair and uses cultural references that I don’t understand.” So, the older group says, “Let’s ignore cultural shift and stick with what makes us feel good.  We can only handle old hymns, a pastor in a suit, and a choir.”
Now, 2 things:
1) There is nothing wrong with old hymns, a pastor in a suit, and a choir…maybe.
2) Not the entire older generation feels this way.
There is something wrong with number one, just as much as there is something wrong with the description of pastors needing pizazz and worship needing flare. If they are merely for your entertainment and not for encouraging your worship and praise experience, then you are missing the point.
All the scenes mentioned, in most cases, are meant for one thing: to draw attention to the glory of God through a meaningful praise and worship experience. That’s it!
Hymns, choirs, hipster worship bands, and fancy pastors or pastors in skinny jeans are not there for your pleasure, but for God’s glory!
When we look at these things as we do a movie, we have created our church going experience into nothing more than an hour of making us happy.
If we aren’t satisfied, then we move on to the next show, which could lead us to miss out on a plot twist, storyline shift, or a great new character that gets introduced into the story.
If we choose to look at worship as a “what am I getting out of this?” as opposed to a “What am I giving into this?” mentality, then we are robbing God of ourselves.
God is not here for our entertainment, although when you walk with Him you will be entertained. He is not here to appeal to our emotions, although when you live for Him your emotions will be moved. He is not here to give us what we want when we want it, although when you seek Him He will give you what you need when you need it.
The movie I watched was good, but not one I will watch over and over again. However, church should be a place we want to be over and over again whether the music is good all the time or not, the pastor preaches well all the time or not, or whether or not we get the same emotional/spiritual arousal every time.
May we go to church to be refilled and refueled by the power of God, not the power of a preacher or choir. May we go to church to be enthralled by the wonder and glory of our Creator, not a building that was made by man. May we be excited to grow in faith all the time, even if the setting isn’t what we were anticipating.
Peace and blessings friends.

QUESTION: What does your church do well that keeps you coming?

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