In light of yesterday’s post, User-Friendly Jesus, I got to thinking about how church has become an entertainment centre. State-of-the-art sound systems to blast out the live band’s carefully rehearsed music. Soft, comfortable chairs to relax in for the duration of the service. Media-driven children’s programs designed to capture little bodies and minds. Ministries to cater to every need and interest.
All we have to do is sit back and take it in.
Now, before you get defensive about it, please understand that I am not at all against any of the above. As long as we are not missing the point.
I read a story about a pastor who recently visited a country where it is illegal to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ – where Christians are routinely persecuted. Even killed. The pastor had been invited to come and teach the Bible to new believers. He was transported, hidden and disguised, to a home on the outskirts of the city where he found nearly 50 people crowded into a small basement room. No windows, and only one small bulb hanging from the ceiling. Believers of all ages eagerly awaited, sitting on the floor, on small stools, lined up along the walls, with Bibles open, ready to learn. The pastor taught for six hours. And no one moved. He later learned that many of the people in that room had been saved only a few months and were already pastoring churches in their own communities. He was invited to come back the next day, and the next, until he had to extend his originally planned week-long visit. These people were hungry for God’s Word. They had left their businesses and homes and farms unattended so that they could learn more about the God of the Bible.
God’s Word was enough.
No sound system. No band. No comfortable chairs. No heat. But the people came, day after day.
What would happen in our churches if we took away the comforts and the entertainment? What if pastors taught for hours without a coffee break? Would God’s Word still be enough for people to come?
I don’t know.
The point is this: God is the sovereign Creator of all things. He knows all things. He sustains all things. He owns all things. He is holy above all. He is righteous in all His ways, just in His wrath, and loving toward all He has made. His Word reveals His glory.
I’m not interested in being entertained.
I want to know Him more.
3 responses to “The Entertained Church”
I think it’s not only about the church entertaining you, it’s that people go EXPECTING to be entertained. If church doesn’t capture your attention or play to your intellectual side, it’s been a failure in some minds. Either way, if you are going with an open heart, you get way more out of “church” than someone who goes to be entertained. Those same people who want to be entertained are the ones who are Sunday Christians and really don’t give Jesus another thought beyond once a week.
Thing is that if you took the people from that little basement and put them in one of our pews they would be hard pressed to see the similarities. And if you took me to their little basement would my faith stand the test. Consider Richard Foster’s words from “The Celebration of Discipline” ….”It is commonplace today to speak of the battle of the eighties to be between Islam, Marxism and Third World Christianity. Western Christianity is, on the whole, too flabby to do anything about it.”
I read this as a quote at the opening of David Watson’s book “Discipleship” and was truly impacted by it. I don’t think the 2000′s are any different, but the problem is that even after reading this I am not much different either. It is just too damn easy to be flabby here. Like in the Monty Python skit where the Inquisitors torture someone by putting him in the comfy chair and beat him with soft pillows.