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 You won’t attract a non-believer if you’re outdated.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?
It IS a fine line. ..I prefer a pastor who talks to me rather than at me, who doesn’t just read the Bible to me…I can do that myself… but explains what it means in terms of day to day life, and yet I am the epitome of turn in your hymnal to page 401. Lol I much prefer the old hymns that were the standard in a southern Baptist small town church before the “new” Christian music became popular. The trick is finding the church where you get more of what’s important to you, gains your interest and participation.
Thanks for your comment, Candace. I agree with you — the trick is finding the church that fits you and your worship style. I tend to like the upbeat, hand-raising music, but like you, appreciate a more topical message that can be applied to my everyday life. Everyone’s different! Can you imagine how awesome heaven will be when we all get together and sing praises?! 🙂 I believe it all is a sweet sound to our Maker’s ears, provided our heart is in the right place. After all, that’s what worship is all about: what’s happening in our hearts.