For many places of worship, long gone are the days when most church sanctuaries featured long, wooden pews, organs, full-sized pianos, stained glass windows and hymnals situated in front of each parishioner.
Sure, there are some congregations that still make use of older buildings, sit on traditional pews, and utilize hymnals, but they are becoming the rarity. In many more instances, congregations feature professional level lighting and sound, along with a media screen and full band. The overall ambience created by such accoutrements make members and guests alike feel more like they are visiting a rock concert instead of a church service.
The way many church services today are going, it does make one wonder why the church exists in the first place. What is the purpose of such services? Is it to entertain? No, most certainly it is not — and that’s why so many Christians take issue with how church services have evolved of late.
According to Karl Vaters of Christianity Today, “Entertainment is cheap and easy. At a laptop, I can access more entertainment than we could ever have imagined. Jesus never bored people with the gospel and a lot of His parables were very entertaining, but entertainment was never the point. Truth was the point and great truths are never boring.”
Therefore, the gospel message alone is enough “entertainment” without the added antics many worship leaders and preachers are attempting.
Embassy Church International in Atlanta, Georgia, is taking the entertainment factor up 110% by adding aerialists to their worship service. The church’s pastor, Apostle Bryan Meadows, announced the addition of the theatrics to their service on April 9th.
“EmbassyCity fully plans on making aerialists a FULL PART of our normal worship experience,” Meadows said. “We endeavor to create a culture driven by the creativity and character of Christ!”
Although there are some who have criticized the move, saying that the performance aspect of the aerialists will take away from the worship element of the service due to the distraction that it will inevitably cause.
“People may be distracted for a couple weeks, but they will get used to it,” Meadows responded. “If people can get used to all of the other foolery that happens in church…I’m sure they can get used to somebody genuinely trying to use their gifts to worship God.”
The preacher brings up a good point by mentioning that allowing aerialists to perform gives them the opportunity to serve God just as vocalists, musicians and teachers currently enjoy.
“They (aerialist performers) shouldn’t have to go to the circus to use the gifts that God gave them,” he continued. “The church should be able to create a space so that everyone can use their gifts to glorify God.”
“As the 21st century Church we must be apostolic in our approach, and not just invade different geographical regions but also various world systems and sectors, such as: government, business, entertainment, family arts and media, and education. This is how this generation will rise and establish the Throne of our God, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The bottom line to this issue is church services are ever evolving as are the people who attend them. Whether or not entertainment should be a focused factor in worship services is debatable.
Thankfully, in America there are an abundance of churches available, encompassing a wide variety of styles and entertainment factors. Therefore, if a person doesn’t like or agree with a concert or even circus-like atmosphere in their worship environment, they don’t have to attend a congregation that allows this. There are still traditional options available if entertainment isn’t a person’s focus.
~ 1776 Christian