Church or Entertainment
February 19, 2013
Why do you go to church? More and more people go for entertainment. Many of the most successful “churches” are little more than entertainment centers. Most of those who read my blog would agree and say that is not true of their church, But is that really true? Listen to the words of a pastor from 1894:
“Religion itself may be dragged into this circle of dissipation. It is possible to go to church with substantially the same object with which one goes to a place of amusement—in the hope of being excited, or having the feelings stirred and the aesthetic sense gratified or, at the least, consuming an hour which might otherwise lie heavy on the hands. With shame be it said, there are churches enough and preachers enough ready to meet this state of mind half-way. With the fireworks of rhetoric or the witchery of music or the pomp of ritual the performance is seasoned up to the due pitch; and the audience depart with precisely the same kind of feeling with which they might leave a concert or a theatre. Very likely it is accounted a great success; but Christ has not spoken : He is resolutely mute to those who follow religion in this spirit.” (Scottish pastor, 1894)
I have been to many good Bible believing, fundamental, separated Baptist churches where the music seems to run things. The thing that draws many to these churches is the music program. Music is an important part of worship, but preaching is to be the main event in our church services.
Music is not the only area where entertainment is found in churches today. Even the preaching can be part of the problem. Some preachers are very dramatic in their manner of presentation, others think that preaching means using a loud voice and shouting, others have to use the most outrageous we of expressing their thoughts, and still others have to impress with their suaveness.
Listen to the Apostle Paul concerning his speech:
1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
2 Corinthians 3:12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that any of the things I mentioned above are wrong. What I am saying is that, when they are done to impress or entertain they are wrong. Preachers should be as good at public speaking as their ability allows them to be.
Many times preachers preach to the emotions of the people because it builds excitement. This excitement is often confused with the moving of the Holy Spirit. I would like to point out the Romans 12:2 tells us that it is the mind that is to be transformed, not the emotions.
There is an emotional side to preaching which is sometimes necessary to get the point to stick in the minds of the hearers, but preaching just to arouse an emotional response is a problem. Often we don’t realize that we are speaking to get and amen, and not to impress upon the minds of the listeners the important scriptural point we are expressing.
Next time someone says what you just preached was a good message try asking them what they learned from it. Remember, a message is only good if something is learned. Actually, a person may be greatly offended by a message and say it was horrible, and it may have been a really good message giving that person just what he needed to hear.
The point of this post is not to say that music is bad, or that certain styles of preaching are wrong. What I am trying to communicate is that the purpose of church is not entertainment and not to make people feel good. It is to communicate the Word of God in such a way that it affects the lives of those who here and creates a real effect that changes them in some way, great or small.
Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved