That’s Entertainment! (Part 2)

[This post is the follow-up to this one, and is part of the Worship Series.]

Part one was probably more clever than clear, so here are a few more thoughts to consider…

The purpose of the “That’s Entertainment!” post was basically to take a common criticism of modern worship services and flip it around a bit in a way you may not have considered before. I was trying to say that just about any style of worship service can appear like “entertainment.” …Oh, and “entertainment” in worship is not necessarily a bad thing.

Let me ‘splain.

First, to be clear, I’m not against traditional worship services. For years I led worship, led choirs, and directed Christmas and Easter productions in churches that were traditonal in their worship style. Great things can happen in a traditional setting when hearts and attitudes are in the right place.

If the worship style of your church is traditional and you love God and love people, then I am for you. If you don’t view your style as more holy than another, then I am for you. If you desire to be biblical and are not worshiping your style more than you are worshiping the Living God, than I am for you.

What constitutes an appropriate worship style isn’t really the point of my post, however. I’m just challenging the mindset that says that a worship style from one decade or century is more “God honoring” than another. The notion that a piano and organ are somehow more “sacred” than a guitar and drums.

I’ve been in traditional worship services that were showy, shallow and powerless. I’ve been in contemporary worship services that were showy, shallow and powerless. But I’ve also been in worship services of both styles that were the opposite of those things. I’m really simplifying things by talking in terms of only “two” worship styles [there are far more than two], but I hope you understand what I mean.


In part one, with tongue in cheek, I referred to the worship service I was describing as “worldly entertainment, pure and simple.” I was exaggerating to make a point. But “entertainment” is an often misunderstood word in church circles.

Again, just to be clear, I don’t think that “entertainment” in worship services is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can actually be a very good thing. I believe we just get hung up on the word itself, sometimes. It all depends on what you mean.

If by “entertaining” you mean, “shallow, showy, avoiding dealing with sin, watering down the Gospel and leaving Jesus out of the mix,” then for heaven’s sake, don’t be “entertaining.” [Although I don’t believe there are many churches at all in this camp.]

But if by “entertaining” you mean, “planned well, presented with excellence, honoring to God, creative, clear and allowing for the fact that there are unbelieving guests present,” then by all means, be “entertaining.”

Sometimes it’s just semantics, and knowing the difference makes all of the difference.


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