Diana Bridgett, a regular contributor to The Christian Post, an Evangelical Christian newspaper based in Washington D. C., recently wrote the article, Is the Church Trying Too Hard to Entertain, which I thought it timely and appropriate to share with you. The decline of church attendance within recent years may have been prompted by the growing frustration within the church body concerning leadership marred by growing numbers of scandals and churches more concerned with entertaining those in the pews than feeding them spiritually. (Emphases throughout are mine.)
Emily Michaels, a graduate student at a Theological Seminary was questioned about her opinion concerning the path of the Christian church, she gave a surprising answer. "I really would like to see the church operate in the days of my grandmother. The church has become such a show these days. It operates just as a play on Broadway. You have your production team, singers, musicians, dancers, skits and so on. Everything has to happen at a certain time. We give so much time to all of these things but only allow five minutes for the Holy Spirit to appear. What happened to just plain church?"
Another Christian shares her sentiment: "I have stopped attending church for that very reason. If I want to be entertained, I can go to a movie …. It takes a lot to get out of bed when your heart is heavy to attend church only to be disappointed because you received nothing in the process."
Some Christians are also concerned that the Christian body is seen as judgmental rather than loving. Hartgrove, an interviewee said, “We have created an image of God that has him waiting for us to do something wrong so He can zap us where we stand. There is little preaching or collective thought surrounding God's love.”
With the rise of atheistic churches and organizations that challenge the authenticity of the Christian message, some Christians believe that they cannot fight this battle because the church is not right within itself.
Hartgrove says that church is no longer a place where she can refresh her soul in times of hardship. “So many people are hurting. They come to church to be restored and comforted. Many of us are in financial crisis and dealing with severe issues in our lives. The church no longer serves as a place of refuge but a place of hardship. It feels like there is no spiritual relief.”
My concluding thought on this is: The pressure to conform to the world is relentless, but we must “stand fast, and hold the traditions” (2 Thess 2:15) which we have been taught, and “resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7).
We cannot compromise. We must continue to proclaim the pure gospel of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Robert Chew