“The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment.” ~A.W. Tozer
What is worship?
The answer to this question may differ from person to person. Some view worship as going to church on Sunday. Others see it as having to do with music specifically.
Traditional settings may include music picked from a hymnal and sung to the tune of an organ or piano. Attendees might wear their Sunday-best. Suits, ties, and dresses that reach the floor.
A more contemporary setting might include a band that plays new-age music, with bass guitars and violins. The congregation may be filled with the local college population, dressed as they would for a weekday class.
But, worship is more than a song; Worship is about celebrating the person and message of Jesus Christ.
Worship is a natural overflow when we hear the good news, or gospel message:
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them (Romans 10:14)?
2 Corinthians 5:17
Regardless of the music, dress style, or atmosphere you prefer, it’s important to ask:
What is the heart attitude of the church?
Where is the focal point of worship each week?
Is the church selling a set of rules, special program, kids class, or worship band, or is the gospel at the center of their focus?
“God wants worshipers before workers; indeed the only acceptable workers are those who have learned the lost art of worship.” ~A.W. Tozer
I’ve seen churches employ all sorts of marketing schemes, working to gain and keep followers. When entertainment is the focus, you draw the wrong type of seekers (John 6:44). Each event, program, or service needs to top the last. It becomes an exhausting, vicious cycle to keep people’s interest, keep the tithe income flowing, and butts in seats. Without actually saying it, the message becomes, Jesus is not enough.
So what are the signs that a church might be selling entertainment over worship?
- The congregation consumes more than it serves.
- Leadership is “big program” and “numbers oriented” more so than community or outreach.
- There is a desire to be seen as the “cool church” versus the one that preaches the hard truths of scripture (ie: messages preached feel more like a pep talk, or self help session).
- Condemnation instead of Grace is shown to those who are perceived to be different than the core members.
“What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would His Word still be enough for his people to come together?” ~David Platt
Are we cultivating the heart of worship?
Or, are we gathering to be entertained?
Thank you Lord for sending Your Son to die in our place, as payment for our sin. Our sinful hearts are so quick to work for that free gift. In our prideful attempt to draw a crowd, we try and add to what Jesus said is finished. Let our Worship be more than a song. Let our hearts overfill with thanks and praise. In Jesus name, Amen!
*original photo credit: Rhonda Rossi
(edited & shared w/ permission)