Monday, March 01, 2010

Celebrate the Resurrection?

After working on church staffs for many years I have been a part of tons of worshipful Easter Sundays and tons of less worshipful ones. Something happens to church planners when we think of the possibility of more people than usual attending our services. For some reason, many churches decide that this should be a day dedicated to entertainment in order to help the less committed feel comfortable in church.

Two Questions:
Does this create a problem in light of the old theory of "how you win them is how you keep them" comes up.

When thinking of Easter Sunday, is this a day when we should cater to the masses in hopes of attracting a few new converts or is this a day for the devoted to celebrate the love the Savior has for us all?


Scott said...

By your picture, I can't imagine what church you are thinking of.

Question # 1
I don't know if this creates a problem or not. Simply because most churches that think they should entertain on Easter are probably doing that every other week as well. For these churches, Easter becomes the visual picture of what is really going on. I have always heard it... "What you win them with is what you win them too". Are we winning with the gospel or entertainment? One is unchangeable, the other is shifting sand.

Question #2
I think this question makes one dig a bit deeper into their core beliefs regarding salvation. For those who want to cater to the masses in hopes for a few converts probably hold to an understanding that they can play a role in changing someone's heart. "If we just play the right music, make Christians seem cool, preach only certain characteristics about God, be artsy, and do good things for people.... then they will be more likely to become Christians!"
If this is what we believe, it makes sense that churches would cater easter to the masses.

Obviously, I don't think we have any ability to change someone's heart. I also believe that catering to the masses only confirms nonbelievers in their idolatry. Furthermore, a nonbeliever who feels comfortable around christians or being inside a church is no closer to being saved than the most hard-hearted, wicked, pagan out there. In both cases the person has a heart of stone that needs the Spirit to enable a heart of flesh. I cannot control the Spirit as I cannot control the wind.

Scott said...

After writing my answers I started to think about it more and I would like to add one more thought. You can't stop me, so here it is.

While I still hold to everything I wrote above, I think I made an unfair or perhaps unclear either or situation. That being if you cater to the masses then you are preaching a compromised gospel. That is not true.

Catering to the masses is ok up and to a point. If we cater to the masses to bring people to hear the unadulterated gospel I am all for it. I have seen churches do this and do it well. However, it is far and few between which is why I was quick to create the unfair dichotomy.

Ryan said...

All deep theological debates aside. I think I have become convinced that this day is a celebration of new life in Jesus. If others come to the celebration and see something that resonates and causes them to believe... then great. But for me, I think I want this day to be about Jesus.
I don't think I want a bunch of people there hoping to see something else... a rock star, a popular speaker, etc. I want to be with people wanting to celebrate Jesus... but that is just me.

Perry said...

I was really perplexed a few days ago when I tried to figure out why the Jonas Brothers was tied to this post. After reading the Register yesterday, I fully understand!

I don't want to dive in on the conversation, but thought you would. appreciate this story. Of course, I have a few girls in my youth group who are obsessed with the JB. Their background is A/G and Dad is an A/G licensed pastor.

Totally kidding with one of the girls (whose parents are A/G missionaries) I said, you should invite the JB to our sunrise service on Easter. They can't be staying more than 5 miles away... She writes me back and had found the JB's dad's phone number in the A/G minister's directory! Oh my!

Anonymous said...

I think one of the biggest problems in churches today is trying to package God to make Him appealing. Almost like they are ashamed of who He is. They forget that when you have the best product in the world you don't need to package it; just present Him. Remember we are just the tool; He does all the work.
Greg W