It seems to be a topic among church leaders, church members and pew warmers: where’s the line between worship and entertainment?
This topic recently came up during our Bible study discussion and the overall consensus was that to get people through the church doors, you have to make the worship experience exciting. You have to be bold. You have to be relevant.
While there’s nothing wrong with hymnals, it won’t draw in the punk-rock band members. And while a church doesn’t need a “stage” per say, the lighting, the band, and the volume keep the attention of the younger generation who are bombarded every day with tech-y gadgets and gizmos that attract and distract.
The key word throughout the discussion was relevance. You won’t attract a non-believer if you’re outdated.
But in staying relevant, do we risk making church more about the show than we do about the King?
It’s a fine line.
Certainly music and cymbals and loud expressions of worship are acceptable for Psalm 100:1-2 (ESV) says, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! . . . Come into his presence with singing!” (emphasis mine). And Psalm 150:3-5 (ESV) says, “Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals.” Whether you’re the lead in the choir or cause glass to crack at the sound of your voice, the Lord receives it gladly. It is a pleasant sound to His ears (Psalm 135:3).
Because after all, worship takes place in the heart of the worshiper.
John 4:23-24 says, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Since “God is spirit,” the place of worship is irrelevant. Worship requires a soul-surrendering. It’s bowing your will before the will of the Father. It’s humbly standing before His glorious presence.
Worship is fellowship with God.
But can the flashy lights, modern Christian music and concert-like experience distract from the One being worshiped? Perhaps. But for some—dare I say the majority—it “meets them where they’re at.” It brings them into deeper communion with Christ. And still for others, it feels irreverent. Less holy. They’d rather turn to Hymn 401.
Regardless of worship style, we must be careful not to drown out the One being worshiped with the noise of the worship experience.
So . . . when you attend church, search your heart. Are you there for Jesus or are you there for the experience?
Where do you think the line is between worship and entertainment? Do you feel some churches have taken it too far?