Church Entertainment as a Substitute for God

Perhaps we rely on entertainment in the church to keep things interesting because we do not rely enough on God to keep our gatherings compelling. Entertainment is easy compared to waiting on God because waiting on God requires that we come to church with hearts prepared, undistracted by the world, and with a desire to commune with God corporately.

Though it is true that God can and does move in places where entertainment happens, have we begun to rely on artificial hype to fill the void when He is missing? Has entertainment become a cover for our spiritual emptiness?

The thing about amusement is that it is easy to manufacture. Think of all the amazing secular productions that have grabbed your attention and not let you go. They were produced without long hours in prayer seeking the Lord, and the creators created them without hearts aflame with the holiness of God. Do not get me wrong. It was hard work, but it took no spiritual effort. It may be an amazing testament to the natural man made in the image of God, but that is not what the church is to represent. The world and the people of God can find that anywhere.

If the lights, recording quality praise bands, drama teams, and preachers with magnetic personalities were all gone, would we be close enough to God to see him move? Would we still gather?

I do not have the answers to all these questions because I do not know the context of your church. Your church may not have any of these trappings and still be far from God. Nor am I saying that God will not use anything that looks like entertainment. I pray your church leaders have amazing musical skill and that the Lord has gifted pastor with oratory ability, but I also pray, when you gather together what truly impresses your heart is much more than those things. If not, we might as well go to a movie or a theater performance.

Maybe if we rely a little less on these things in our services, we will rely a little more on God. If we do that and our gatherings become dull, maybe we should examine our hearts, get down on our knees, and ask the Lord to move and sanctify us. Though it may not be appealing to the world, that would be a corporate gathering worth attending.

-D. Eaton

5 thoughts on “Church Entertainment as a Substitute for God

  1. I grew up in a very different tradition than the one I have chosen as an adult believer. I grew up with contemplation and silence on my knees, which has its place, and so I was really turned off by the noise and glare of modern evangelical worship services. It took me a long time to adjust to it, if I’m being honest. Don’t get me wrong, there are parts of it that I take great joy in. Modern praise music engages a lot more senses than chant and Latin hymns…but sometimes the noise can overtake the substance and the indulgence of sensory overload can be a substitute for the experience of nearness to our God.

    I’m glad we’re having a collective conversation about these things because it is important. Our commission is to love, which means service. Service–real service–requires more than pretty speeches and well-lit worship concerts. It requires work and wisdom and study…and prayer. It requires humility and the daily confrontation of our ugly hearts in pursuit of sanctification.

    I love worship music, and I love a good sermon. These things are not bad–they are wonderful! If that is all “church” means to us, however, then we’re gonna get into deep trouble.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “These things are not bad–they are wonderful! If that is all “church” means to us, however, then we’re gonna get into deep trouble.”
    YES. Exactly!

    Liked by 2 people

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