“Worshiptainment”

There’s a blog written in 2014 by Mike Livingstone making its rounds on social media again called, “The Heresy of Worshiptainment.

It warns against lights, smoke machines, props, and performances among other things in modern worship services. He says, “The great heresy of the church today is that we think we’re in the entertainment business.”

I have been in full time ministry since 2008 as a youth pastor and quite frankly, anywhere I was needed.
In February of this year, our minister of music stepped down. Having a background in music ministry, I accepted the position of worship pastor.
I have incorporated lights, a smoke machine, multi-tracks, lyric videos, and “cool” music.
I have ideas from time to time that can be off the wall.
Thankfully my Pastor is forward thinking and at least considers some of the more “out of the box” ideas I have.
Once, he asked me the question, “What makes an idea a gimmick?
After some thought, I concluded that it’s really the heart and motivation behind an idea that defines it.

In Mr. Livingstone’s piece he quotes David Platt.
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?”

I’ll one up his question.
What if we take away the building, met outside every Sunday morning at 5 a.m. in the rain or snow?
What if we sat on hay bales with no instruments only singing Psalms?
Livinstone goes so far as to say A.W. Tozer got it right in saying “Heresy of method may be as deadly as heresy of message.”
This type of thinking is backward, and quite frankly dangerous, for a myriad of reasons. One being it’s based on the assumption that their church is closer in structure to the first century church of Jesus’ time than ours today.

For whatever reason there’s a whole sect of Christianity that enjoys eating their own.
You know them.
They’re the “Oh my God you serve donuts and coffee in your foyer?” crowd.
They’re the “You go to that church where the Pastor dresses too trendy, his wife is too pretty, he preaches with an iPad, and uses The Message translation so it must not be inspired” bunch.
When will we ever get past this way of thinking in the church?
Unless your heart is the wrong place, God will absolutely show up with the lights, lyric videos, and “cool music.” Some of my closest friends are pastor’s and incorporate these things in their services. I know them personally, and I know they have a heart for God. As a matter of fact, they probably do more in a week for the Kingdom of God than most christians do in a year.
Click tracks, smoke machines, lights, and loud music don’t hinder the Holy Spirit…
People do.

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