It has become quite typical in this day and age to complain about life online rather than to anyone real that could actually do something about it. Christians are in no way immune to this temptation, and often some of the worst offenders.
Recently I have been reading plenty of angry blogs by my fellow Christians slamming one particular niche in the current church market (albeit a very popular one): the "showy" churches. You know the churches I'm talking about; smoke machines, light shows, preachers with hip glasses and an iPad, etc.
These blogs are often grossly one-sided and lacking any sort of context for their "concerns". As someone who regularly attends and is part of the creative team of one of these "showy" churches, I thought it might do us all some good to hear another point of view.
Contrary to popular belief, my church has zero interest in entertaining anyone. If you believe that this is why churches put on a "show," then you are gravely mistaken.
In short, it's about excellence, involvement, and relevance.
We see a worship service as an opportunity to bring our best to God, and we see that including modern technology. Look at ancient temples built to him, historic cathedrals and monuments. Is he not worthy of being glorified in a way that is excellent, extravagant and beautiful?
Also in most churches service opportunities revolve around people that are good at teaching, child services, and hospitality. There are a lot of people in the church that aren't good at those things.
There are people with technical minds and artistic minds who want to use their gifts to serve the church. Why shouldn't those gifts be utilized? Is it wrong to utilize them? Did Moses not utilize these same gifts when he commissioned the building of the tabernacle?
Our culture is shifting, and reading through the Bible it is 'very' clear that the apostles were constantly changing their ministry tactics based on the culture they were in. They did not see this as a moral compromise, but as a way of making the gospel relevant to all people.
In short, they met people where they were at.
Shouldn't our ministry be relevant to our generation as well? Couldn't a "showy" service seem more relevant to our culture than a more traditional one?
Judgment Free Zone
If you remain unconvinced that a "showy" service is necessary, that's fine. Don't go. It's obviously not for you. I would just ask that you refrain from judging it.
What we're doing is not sinful in any way shape or form, in fact we have people come to know God in our services on a regular basis. The lives of the churchgoers are regularly enriched, and the Holy Spirit is clearly alive and well in our church; refining and shaping us all.
So, to say that our worship is vapid or lesser in some way is not fair. It may simply not be your preference.
We're all on the same team, we all have the same spirit. Let's seek to work together and try and understand each other.
Didn't Jesus say that the world would know we belong to him because of our love for one another? I'm not saying we shouldn't disagree on things, because we will and that's healthy.
I'm saying we need to learn how to disagree better.
Originally Published for Christian Today.