A month ago I involved myself in a discussion with a Facebook friend who had lamented about how so many worship teams that he was watching on Youtube were merely into entertainment: which I pushed back fairly hard on as all the worship teams I know are some of the most hardworking and committed teams in the church. They practice once a week, they turn up hours before everyone else on a Sunday, and often are some of the last to leave. I also pushed back on the idea of do we really know what is in a person’s heart…..But this blog is not entirely about that. It’s about the idea of entertainment.
When I was Pastoring Nowra City Church, this was the number one criticism that people outside of the church used to level at us: that we were “The Entertainment Church”.
I used to ask them…and why is that bad?
May I suggest we have demonised entertainment in order to appear more spiritual.
And before you fire up your fingers to dance magically (oh don’t mention magic) across the keyboard and tell me all the theological reasons why I am wrong…..I get that in church and in worship and in our life, we are here to bring Glory to God. I so get that.
But what if God is into entertainment?
Entertainment is defined as providing enjoyment.
1 Timothy 6:17 tells us that we are to trust in God who “richly provides us with all things to enjoy”
So what if God made us to be entertainable and then made this outrageously entertaining world.
A couple of examples of what I mean:
I arrived home the other afternoon to a mob of Kangaroos feeding on my Gold Coast lawn, one had a little joey. I stood there as the sun set, watching the interaction of the roos and I was thoroughly entertained.
Melanie and I went out for dinner recently and we ordered a lamb shoulder to share….the meat was insanely tasteful as it melted in our mouths…..My taste buds went into overdrive with entertainment.
My daughters entertain me. Sometimes by what they do, sometimes by who they are and at all times just because they are in my world.
I get entertained by the diversity of cultures around the world.
Melanie was looking through Pinterest recently and we were both amazed at the variety and striking beauty of birds. Why did God make the birds like this? Why did God allow us to see color? Was it that we would be entertained?
I was listening to the radio the other day and was thinking about how amazing music is and the fact that we can hear. What if we couldn’t hear? What if we were created totally tone deaf (the Chinese would be sunk).
How entertaining are Pets?
Or what about the fact that we as humans can laugh and find things funny. I am pretty sure that the American Bison doesn’t have a sense of humor. So why did God give us this ability to laugh and find humour in things.
Why did God make sex enjoyable? Humans are one of very few species who have sex for pleasure. God made us like that.
Or here is a question for you to ponder: Why did God make us entertainable and provided us with an lavishly entertaining world….if he didn’t want us to entertained?
I remember reading a survey in the Sydney Morning Herald in July 2002 that said 42% of Aussies don’t attend church because its boring. So, and hear my heart in this….maybe if some churches became more entertaining……
Ok here are a few disclaimers.
I know I will be blasted in the comments section of this blog for being carnal, fleshly etc etc but no one I suspect will actually tell me why did God make us such an entertaining world and then have some church’s specialise in boring.
Let me also say…boring does not equal spirituality any more that being entertaining equals flesh.
And if you disagree with me, that’s ok:…. when you are in church this Sunday being comforted as you are bored. As for me, when I walk into the church I currently attend, I will be entertained by the lights, the atmosphere, the great music and the singing and then I will enter into worship in spirit and in truth. Be entertained in church is not a barrier to me truly woshipping God. In fact may I suggest as it engages my senses, its a more holistic holy experience.
The point of this blog is….it doesn’t have to be an either or.
Anyway that’s what I think.
Ps Peter Pilt
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Categories: Church related
My 2c worth, for what it’s worth, and I may be wrong; I think I was once but I may be mistaken (there’s history behind that last word too)..
Anyway as I see it “entertainment” is for and about us and church services should be for and about God. But when your campus Pastor thinks it’s alright to call those attending on Sunday an audience (well our Senior Pastor’s wife did it first) you may just wonder just where your church is at.
On bands; someone once heard a band member say something like “let’s go out there and worship God”. The response was “No, let’s go out there and lead the congregation in worshipping God”.
I go to church to corporately worship God with other members of His Body. If I enjoy it OK, but if the service is organised to cause me enjoyment, if my enjoyment of it is even a consideration ……
I still remember the first time I went to my church as an unsaved 22 year old. My comment to self after the first service was “They’ve got something I haven’t and I want it!!!”. If I’d only walked into my church for the first time today would I say the same thing?
Due to inflation the above comments are now only worth 1c.
Peter why write an article you know clearly will be attacked?
Yes, we all like to be entertained at times but the purpose of going to church is to worship God. What most of us want to do is be led to the throne room of God as we lift our praise and worship to Him. In some churches there is a tendency for the ‘worship team’ to try and stun us with their ability and put the spotlight on themselves, rather than God. Surely you’ve witnessed that!
It does not matter if there is a whole band playing, a piano or one keyboard, everything should be pointing to Him.
The other night, I could hear one of my college students upstairs, softly playing a guitar. It was 10:30 p.m. and our rule is lights out and in bed by 10:00. I quietly crept up the stairs and poked my head into the boys dorm. To my surprise it was one of our academically weaker students and he had his back to the door and didn’t see me. Neither did others in the room.
Now his guitar skills though in key and his singing were not too advanced, but I could hear his heart as he worshiped God and could clearly sense the peace and Presence of the Holy Spirit in the room. I said nothing but quietly crept down the stairs again and sat in a chair outside my room and soaked up the sweet presence of Jesus for the next 30 minutes.
Peter, that’s what I and many others want when we go to church. We don’t want a performance, we don’t want to be entertained. We want Jesus! I hope you can understand.
I so agree with you. I was visiting a church while on holidays years ago and was comparing the sloppiness and dress of the band to our more professional one back home. Until worship started; and it was worship, not just singing the songs. Put me right in my place it did.as the Spirit fell on us and we worshipped and the gifts of the Spirit operated in the Body of Christ.
Alan, If I wrote stuff that I thought wouldn’t be attacked then I wouldn’t write most of the stuff that I do.
The point that I am trying to make is that is this an either or discussion. I am merely making the point that I suggest it is not
Jason said this am, ‘ we need to learn to roar’ from the inner most part
of you being, give God a roar !
I think anyone in platform ministry puts themselves in a very vulnerable firing line and can expect to be misunderstood. When you see a tradesman going his hardest on a Saturday working on the church extension you can admire his skill and the work he’s done. When he steps back and looks at his workmanship, he and the people around him are proud (in the right sense) of a job well done. He might even spend extra time touching up things he knows no-one else will notice but he says “only the best for the house of God”. And everyone agrees, and he does it with a heart of worship – it’s all good and so it should be. Nothing wrong with doing the same on Sunday. 🙂
Now just fyi – I have been in the position where I was the worship leader and only musician on a Sunday morning and during the first half of the service my guitar strings broke one after another until I had only 2 left, at which time I put the guitar down – switched to ‘acapella’ and we had a great time. But I think that predicament in itself was pretty entertaining.