Worship Mythbusters: dispelling popular notions that get in the way of authentic worship [2.0]

MYTH:  Worship is not entertainment.

The idea of the difference between what a theological term of worship is and what our practice of public worship is needs to color these conversations.  Too many times we narrowly define the “literal” words for worship and do not look in the context of scripture at what people did during worship.  They used music, flowing prayers, pageantry and symbols.  They shared the narratives of God’s works.  The times of worship certainly had the attention of the people.

So, we are brought to another worship myth from my series: Worship Mythbusters.  Here is the premise:  there are a lot of phrases out there that confuse our liturgy and make our public worship services more complicated than necessary.

This is not entirely true.  What does the word “entertainment” mean?  From Princeton University we find this definition“ …entertainment, amusement (an activity that is diverting and that holds the attention).” I would say that Jesus was quite an entertainer.  He held public meetings and diverted people’s attention from whatever they were doing to listen to his sermons and teachings.  In fact, you might even say that the miracles provided an entertainment value.

What I am saying here is that our public worship (or liturgy) can be and probably should be entertaining.  The idea that the discipline of attending corporate gatherings might divert your attention to the person of Christ and his teachings makes sense to me. Is a boring worship service more spiritual than one that engages and entertains?

Obviously, the purpose of public worship is not entertainment, but to slam a blanket statement on the worship team like this one is indeed unnecessary.  It is also simply not true.  So, lets worship in a way that captures people’s attention and be careful to not get wrapped up in the capturing part and miss the purpose of our gatherings.

Share:
Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

156 comments

  1. 2 thoughts for you Rich.
    -I can agree as long as the goal isn’t entertainment. Something can be entertaining for a person watching but if the person “performing” is doing it with the goal of entertaining the crowd I think that God would be unhappy. He wants us to worship him always.

    -So is your church busting out flags on stage this weekend for some extra entertainment? 😮

  2. 2 thoughts for you Rich.
    -I can agree as long as the goal isn’t entertainment. Something can be entertaining for a person watching but if the person “performing” is doing it with the goal of entertaining the crowd I think that God would be unhappy. He wants us to worship him always.

    -So is your church busting out flags on stage this weekend for some extra entertainment? 😮

  3. 2 thoughts for you Rich.
    -I can agree as long as the goal isn’t entertainment. Something can be entertaining for a person watching but if the person “performing” is doing it with the goal of entertaining the crowd I think that God would be unhappy. He wants us to worship him always.

    -So is your church busting out flags on stage this weekend for some extra entertainment? 😮

  4. 2 thoughts for you Rich.
    -I can agree as long as the goal isn’t entertainment. Something can be entertaining for a person watching but if the person “performing” is doing it with the goal of entertaining the crowd I think that God would be unhappy. He wants us to worship him always.

    -So is your church busting out flags on stage this weekend for some extra entertainment? 😮

  5. Tyler…A common critique of worship people is that they are just entertaining or performing and really their motives must be wrong. What is wrong about that is that often a parishioner or the critic is judging the character of the worship leader and doing so simply on impression. My goal is to challenge people to think of how they throw around statements like these. Can you really know the heart of someone if it “appears” that they are entertaining and engaging? Of course, our motives are important. And, impressions are, too. However, I just want church people to think about the consequences of what they are actually doing in their evaluation of their worship experience.
    For pastors or teachers, we often praise them when they make us laugh or tear up when making a point. We love that. With worship team people, some people do not appreciate communication skills they project. Or WORSE–the idea of being artistic, creative or talented really puts some off. I think they comes from a narrow view of our Christian liberty in how we culturally express worship.

    About the flags…er..I confess using flags in the past! Notice, “past.”!

  6. Tyler…A common critique of worship people is that they are just entertaining or performing and really their motives must be wrong. What is wrong about that is that often a parishioner or the critic is judging the character of the worship leader and doing so simply on impression. My goal is to challenge people to think of how they throw around statements like these. Can you really know the heart of someone if it “appears” that they are entertaining and engaging? Of course, our motives are important. And, impressions are, too. However, I just want church people to think about the consequences of what they are actually doing in their evaluation of their worship experience.
    For pastors or teachers, we often praise them when they make us laugh or tear up when making a point. We love that. With worship team people, some people do not appreciate communication skills they project. Or WORSE–the idea of being artistic, creative or talented really puts some off. I think they comes from a narrow view of our Christian liberty in how we culturally express worship.

    About the flags…er..I confess using flags in the past! Notice, “past.”!

  7. Tyler…A common critique of worship people is that they are just entertaining or performing and really their motives must be wrong. What is wrong about that is that often a parishioner or the critic is judging the character of the worship leader and doing so simply on impression. My goal is to challenge people to think of how they throw around statements like these. Can you really know the heart of someone if it “appears” that they are entertaining and engaging? Of course, our motives are important. And, impressions are, too. However, I just want church people to think about the consequences of what they are actually doing in their evaluation of their worship experience.
    For pastors or teachers, we often praise them when they make us laugh or tear up when making a point. We love that. With worship team people, some people do not appreciate communication skills they project. Or WORSE–the idea of being artistic, creative or talented really puts some off. I think they comes from a narrow view of our Christian liberty in how we culturally express worship.

    About the flags…er..I confess using flags in the past! Notice, “past.”!

  8. Tyler…A common critique of worship people is that they are just entertaining or performing and really their motives must be wrong. What is wrong about that is that often a parishioner or the critic is judging the character of the worship leader and doing so simply on impression. My goal is to challenge people to think of how they throw around statements like these. Can you really know the heart of someone if it “appears” that they are entertaining and engaging? Of course, our motives are important. And, impressions are, too. However, I just want church people to think about the consequences of what they are actually doing in their evaluation of their worship experience.
    For pastors or teachers, we often praise them when they make us laugh or tear up when making a point. We love that. With worship team people, some people do not appreciate communication skills they project. Or WORSE–the idea of being artistic, creative or talented really puts some off. I think they comes from a narrow view of our Christian liberty in how we culturally express worship.

    About the flags…er..I confess using flags in the past! Notice, “past.”!

  9. O yeah I totally get your point here Rich. Not disagreeing at all. Especially as a musician, I hate it to think people might be questioning my motive or heart when on stage. I can only hope that if and when they see me outside of this area that my life reflects the words I sing or the God I worship. From my perspective I hope that worship can be entertaining, but when I am the one who is entertaining, I hope that my heart is worshiping and not hoping for something that is called entertaining.

  10. O yeah I totally get your point here Rich. Not disagreeing at all. Especially as a musician, I hate it to think people might be questioning my motive or heart when on stage. I can only hope that if and when they see me outside of this area that my life reflects the words I sing or the God I worship. From my perspective I hope that worship can be entertaining, but when I am the one who is entertaining, I hope that my heart is worshiping and not hoping for something that is called entertaining.

  11. O yeah I totally get your point here Rich. Not disagreeing at all. Especially as a musician, I hate it to think people might be questioning my motive or heart when on stage. I can only hope that if and when they see me outside of this area that my life reflects the words I sing or the God I worship. From my perspective I hope that worship can be entertaining, but when I am the one who is entertaining, I hope that my heart is worshiping and not hoping for something that is called entertaining.

  12. O yeah I totally get your point here Rich. Not disagreeing at all. Especially as a musician, I hate it to think people might be questioning my motive or heart when on stage. I can only hope that if and when they see me outside of this area that my life reflects the words I sing or the God I worship. From my perspective I hope that worship can be entertaining, but when I am the one who is entertaining, I hope that my heart is worshiping and not hoping for something that is called entertaining.

  13. An interesting thought Rich. We have been having long discussions lately about what true worship looks like in a corperate setting.Our team has progressed in our ability to play “good” music and in the past few years and i think that its become easy for people to mistake entertainment, emotion, or fuzzy feelings for worship. In the early days of the our church people were almost forced to have a true heart of worship…because the music wasn’t “entertaining” at all. Grace abounded and people just loved to come and sing..even if it sounded bad.
    More recentlt the comments have come in now and then. “The music is good, but I don’t want to be entertained, i want to worship.”

    So the questions for me lately are:
    Is there a point when our music places people’s focus on us rather than God….is that even our issue or is it an issue of the heart? Do we just say “Fix your heart people because I’m offering the best of my gift to God…and thats the way it should be.”
    If people leave without worshipping….is it my fault? (I think not) But there may be things I can do to offer a better chance for our congregation to worship.

    How do we judge success in worship? by a feeling, by tears or raised hands? Sometimes I wish God would send down a report card after Sunday morning.

    Have we as worship leaders done anything to minnimize worship to something that just happens on Sunday mornings? I sometimes think that if these 5 songs are the only worship for people in a week, no wonder they get so bent out of shape when it dosen’t meet “their” needs.

    wow, that was all over the place.
    Good thoughts Rich.

  14. An interesting thought Rich. We have been having long discussions lately about what true worship looks like in a corperate setting.Our team has progressed in our ability to play “good” music and in the past few years and i think that its become easy for people to mistake entertainment, emotion, or fuzzy feelings for worship. In the early days of the our church people were almost forced to have a true heart of worship…because the music wasn’t “entertaining” at all. Grace abounded and people just loved to come and sing..even if it sounded bad.
    More recentlt the comments have come in now and then. “The music is good, but I don’t want to be entertained, i want to worship.”

    So the questions for me lately are:
    Is there a point when our music places people’s focus on us rather than God….is that even our issue or is it an issue of the heart? Do we just say “Fix your heart people because I’m offering the best of my gift to God…and thats the way it should be.”
    If people leave without worshipping….is it my fault? (I think not) But there may be things I can do to offer a better chance for our congregation to worship.

    How do we judge success in worship? by a feeling, by tears or raised hands? Sometimes I wish God would send down a report card after Sunday morning.

    Have we as worship leaders done anything to minnimize worship to something that just happens on Sunday mornings? I sometimes think that if these 5 songs are the only worship for people in a week, no wonder they get so bent out of shape when it dosen’t meet “their” needs.

    wow, that was all over the place.
    Good thoughts Rich.

  15. An interesting thought Rich. We have been having long discussions lately about what true worship looks like in a corperate setting.Our team has progressed in our ability to play “good” music and in the past few years and i think that its become easy for people to mistake entertainment, emotion, or fuzzy feelings for worship. In the early days of the our church people were almost forced to have a true heart of worship…because the music wasn’t “entertaining” at all. Grace abounded and people just loved to come and sing..even if it sounded bad.
    More recentlt the comments have come in now and then. “The music is good, but I don’t want to be entertained, i want to worship.”

    So the questions for me lately are:
    Is there a point when our music places people’s focus on us rather than God….is that even our issue or is it an issue of the heart? Do we just say “Fix your heart people because I’m offering the best of my gift to God…and thats the way it should be.”
    If people leave without worshipping….is it my fault? (I think not) But there may be things I can do to offer a better chance for our congregation to worship.

    How do we judge success in worship? by a feeling, by tears or raised hands? Sometimes I wish God would send down a report card after Sunday morning.

    Have we as worship leaders done anything to minnimize worship to something that just happens on Sunday mornings? I sometimes think that if these 5 songs are the only worship for people in a week, no wonder they get so bent out of shape when it dosen’t meet “their” needs.

    wow, that was all over the place.
    Good thoughts Rich.

  16. An interesting thought Rich. We have been having long discussions lately about what true worship looks like in a corperate setting.Our team has progressed in our ability to play “good” music and in the past few years and i think that its become easy for people to mistake entertainment, emotion, or fuzzy feelings for worship. In the early days of the our church people were almost forced to have a true heart of worship…because the music wasn’t “entertaining” at all. Grace abounded and people just loved to come and sing..even if it sounded bad.
    More recentlt the comments have come in now and then. “The music is good, but I don’t want to be entertained, i want to worship.”

    So the questions for me lately are:
    Is there a point when our music places people’s focus on us rather than God….is that even our issue or is it an issue of the heart? Do we just say “Fix your heart people because I’m offering the best of my gift to God…and thats the way it should be.”
    If people leave without worshipping….is it my fault? (I think not) But there may be things I can do to offer a better chance for our congregation to worship.

    How do we judge success in worship? by a feeling, by tears or raised hands? Sometimes I wish God would send down a report card after Sunday morning.

    Have we as worship leaders done anything to minnimize worship to something that just happens on Sunday mornings? I sometimes think that if these 5 songs are the only worship for people in a week, no wonder they get so bent out of shape when it dosen’t meet “their” needs.

    wow, that was all over the place.
    Good thoughts Rich.

  17. Oh yea, and we got some flags….on each side of the room. We’re Praying for Kenya. No smoke machine yet though. 🙂

  18. Oh yea, and we got some flags….on each side of the room. We’re Praying for Kenya. No smoke machine yet though. 🙂

  19. Oh yea, and we got some flags….on each side of the room. We’re Praying for Kenya. No smoke machine yet though. 🙂

  20. Oh yea, and we got some flags….on each side of the room. We’re Praying for Kenya. No smoke machine yet though. 🙂

  21. we have jugglers, clowns, and our pastor swings on a trapeze. ok not really.
    rich, once again the voice of reason speaks. i am vaguely remembering a talk by some well known pastor/teacher on entertainment. i think he said something like “church should be the most interesting and entertaining thing of the week/month/year/etc.”

    i like this definition of entertain: to keep, hold, or maintain in the mind. if that’s true then i want to entertain every weekend.

    (not looking forward to typing the anti-spam word)

  22. we have jugglers, clowns, and our pastor swings on a trapeze. ok not really.
    rich, once again the voice of reason speaks. i am vaguely remembering a talk by some well known pastor/teacher on entertainment. i think he said something like “church should be the most interesting and entertaining thing of the week/month/year/etc.”

    i like this definition of entertain: to keep, hold, or maintain in the mind. if that’s true then i want to entertain every weekend.

    (not looking forward to typing the anti-spam word)

  23. we have jugglers, clowns, and our pastor swings on a trapeze. ok not really.
    rich, once again the voice of reason speaks. i am vaguely remembering a talk by some well known pastor/teacher on entertainment. i think he said something like “church should be the most interesting and entertaining thing of the week/month/year/etc.”

    i like this definition of entertain: to keep, hold, or maintain in the mind. if that’s true then i want to entertain every weekend.

    (not looking forward to typing the anti-spam word)

  24. we have jugglers, clowns, and our pastor swings on a trapeze. ok not really.
    rich, once again the voice of reason speaks. i am vaguely remembering a talk by some well known pastor/teacher on entertainment. i think he said something like “church should be the most interesting and entertaining thing of the week/month/year/etc.”

    i like this definition of entertain: to keep, hold, or maintain in the mind. if that’s true then i want to entertain every weekend.

    (not looking forward to typing the anti-spam word)

  25. There’s something that you said in our recent dialogue about this stuff that I’ve been mulling over and has kinda grown on me. It’s the idea that we need to stopp throwing around what “worship is not.” We constantly throw out the negatives of what worship isn’t rather than focusing on what worship is, and I am noticing now that usually when we say it is not something, we almost always get it wrong because while it may not be the main focus, it still encompasses so many things.
    Anyway, not well thought out, but I thought I’d mention that a post regarding that issue which you seem to have thought about a lot more than myself would be interesting.

  26. There’s something that you said in our recent dialogue about this stuff that I’ve been mulling over and has kinda grown on me. It’s the idea that we need to stopp throwing around what “worship is not.” We constantly throw out the negatives of what worship isn’t rather than focusing on what worship is, and I am noticing now that usually when we say it is not something, we almost always get it wrong because while it may not be the main focus, it still encompasses so many things.
    Anyway, not well thought out, but I thought I’d mention that a post regarding that issue which you seem to have thought about a lot more than myself would be interesting.

  27. There’s something that you said in our recent dialogue about this stuff that I’ve been mulling over and has kinda grown on me. It’s the idea that we need to stopp throwing around what “worship is not.” We constantly throw out the negatives of what worship isn’t rather than focusing on what worship is, and I am noticing now that usually when we say it is not something, we almost always get it wrong because while it may not be the main focus, it still encompasses so many things.
    Anyway, not well thought out, but I thought I’d mention that a post regarding that issue which you seem to have thought about a lot more than myself would be interesting.

  28. There’s something that you said in our recent dialogue about this stuff that I’ve been mulling over and has kinda grown on me. It’s the idea that we need to stopp throwing around what “worship is not.” We constantly throw out the negatives of what worship isn’t rather than focusing on what worship is, and I am noticing now that usually when we say it is not something, we almost always get it wrong because while it may not be the main focus, it still encompasses so many things.
    Anyway, not well thought out, but I thought I’d mention that a post regarding that issue which you seem to have thought about a lot more than myself would be interesting.

  29. What about performance, another mythbuster for ya, or I might beat you to it, it just won’t be as deep.

  30. What about performance, another mythbuster for ya, or I might beat you to it, it just won’t be as deep.

  31. What about performance, another mythbuster for ya, or I might beat you to it, it just won’t be as deep.

  32. What about performance, another mythbuster for ya, or I might beat you to it, it just won’t be as deep.

  33. Agreed.
    Howard Hendricks once said, “It is a sin to bore people with the Word of God.” I think this is true for both our public reading of scripture, preaching, and proclaiming through song.

    Also, do a little study on the words used to describe the duties the priests had in the temple. As a teaser . . . you will find a lot about performance. Not to mention meticulous practice, memorization, display, artistry, etc. Fascinating.

    Worship God. Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. Spirit. Truth. You may just get sweaty in the process.

    We just need to re-lexicon some words and phrases for people like you are doing. Take these words and examine them and pull them apart.

    What people are really saying is they don’t want a worship leader who draws attention to themselves and is full of themselves. Well, duh. We all agree with that. But, where they sometimes go wrong is mistaking passion and expression for something shallow. This is where it gets weird.

    I don’t fight these battles anymore. They aren’t worth it to me. I feel a great freedom from God to not care about this crap anymore. I simply say, “I see where you are coming from. We probably have some different ideas but we might be saying the same thing. If you are ever interested in taking the band out to dinner and talking about it, I’d love to have you show the band your appreciation over a meal while we chat. They would love that! They all have great hearts and I know you would love to meet them all.”

    Love you, man.

  34. Agreed.
    Howard Hendricks once said, “It is a sin to bore people with the Word of God.” I think this is true for both our public reading of scripture, preaching, and proclaiming through song.

    Also, do a little study on the words used to describe the duties the priests had in the temple. As a teaser . . . you will find a lot about performance. Not to mention meticulous practice, memorization, display, artistry, etc. Fascinating.

    Worship God. Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. Spirit. Truth. You may just get sweaty in the process.

    We just need to re-lexicon some words and phrases for people like you are doing. Take these words and examine them and pull them apart.

    What people are really saying is they don’t want a worship leader who draws attention to themselves and is full of themselves. Well, duh. We all agree with that. But, where they sometimes go wrong is mistaking passion and expression for something shallow. This is where it gets weird.

    I don’t fight these battles anymore. They aren’t worth it to me. I feel a great freedom from God to not care about this crap anymore. I simply say, “I see where you are coming from. We probably have some different ideas but we might be saying the same thing. If you are ever interested in taking the band out to dinner and talking about it, I’d love to have you show the band your appreciation over a meal while we chat. They would love that! They all have great hearts and I know you would love to meet them all.”

    Love you, man.

  35. Agreed.
    Howard Hendricks once said, “It is a sin to bore people with the Word of God.” I think this is true for both our public reading of scripture, preaching, and proclaiming through song.

    Also, do a little study on the words used to describe the duties the priests had in the temple. As a teaser . . . you will find a lot about performance. Not to mention meticulous practice, memorization, display, artistry, etc. Fascinating.

    Worship God. Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. Spirit. Truth. You may just get sweaty in the process.

    We just need to re-lexicon some words and phrases for people like you are doing. Take these words and examine them and pull them apart.

    What people are really saying is they don’t want a worship leader who draws attention to themselves and is full of themselves. Well, duh. We all agree with that. But, where they sometimes go wrong is mistaking passion and expression for something shallow. This is where it gets weird.

    I don’t fight these battles anymore. They aren’t worth it to me. I feel a great freedom from God to not care about this crap anymore. I simply say, “I see where you are coming from. We probably have some different ideas but we might be saying the same thing. If you are ever interested in taking the band out to dinner and talking about it, I’d love to have you show the band your appreciation over a meal while we chat. They would love that! They all have great hearts and I know you would love to meet them all.”

    Love you, man.

  36. Agreed.
    Howard Hendricks once said, “It is a sin to bore people with the Word of God.” I think this is true for both our public reading of scripture, preaching, and proclaiming through song.

    Also, do a little study on the words used to describe the duties the priests had in the temple. As a teaser . . . you will find a lot about performance. Not to mention meticulous practice, memorization, display, artistry, etc. Fascinating.

    Worship God. Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. Spirit. Truth. You may just get sweaty in the process.

    We just need to re-lexicon some words and phrases for people like you are doing. Take these words and examine them and pull them apart.

    What people are really saying is they don’t want a worship leader who draws attention to themselves and is full of themselves. Well, duh. We all agree with that. But, where they sometimes go wrong is mistaking passion and expression for something shallow. This is where it gets weird.

    I don’t fight these battles anymore. They aren’t worth it to me. I feel a great freedom from God to not care about this crap anymore. I simply say, “I see where you are coming from. We probably have some different ideas but we might be saying the same thing. If you are ever interested in taking the band out to dinner and talking about it, I’d love to have you show the band your appreciation over a meal while we chat. They would love that! They all have great hearts and I know you would love to meet them all.”

    Love you, man.

  37. appreciate your thoughts. and the comments. i think the motivation here is GREAT, but the terminology might carry unintended meanings.
    i’d like to propose the use of “captivating” instead of “entertaining”… i think Christ was extremely captivating, in that He caught and maintained the people’s attention… but i wouldn’t call Him entertaining in the sense that performers are entertaining.

    captivating worship – that’s what i’m aiming for.

  38. appreciate your thoughts. and the comments. i think the motivation here is GREAT, but the terminology might carry unintended meanings.
    i’d like to propose the use of “captivating” instead of “entertaining”… i think Christ was extremely captivating, in that He caught and maintained the people’s attention… but i wouldn’t call Him entertaining in the sense that performers are entertaining.

    captivating worship – that’s what i’m aiming for.

  39. appreciate your thoughts. and the comments. i think the motivation here is GREAT, but the terminology might carry unintended meanings.
    i’d like to propose the use of “captivating” instead of “entertaining”… i think Christ was extremely captivating, in that He caught and maintained the people’s attention… but i wouldn’t call Him entertaining in the sense that performers are entertaining.

    captivating worship – that’s what i’m aiming for.

  40. appreciate your thoughts. and the comments. i think the motivation here is GREAT, but the terminology might carry unintended meanings.
    i’d like to propose the use of “captivating” instead of “entertaining”… i think Christ was extremely captivating, in that He caught and maintained the people’s attention… but i wouldn’t call Him entertaining in the sense that performers are entertaining.

    captivating worship – that’s what i’m aiming for.

  41. Mandy,
    I am happy that I got you thinking! Entertainment may carry baggage, and it is that baggage that is used to pummel worship leaders often. So, I intend to debunk the idea that being entertaining really is any different than what you describe as captivating. We are talking about skills being employed to craft an ethos each week to allow people in our church to express their worship.

    And, this question still stands to my readers: Is a boring worship service more spiritual than one that engages and entertains?

  42. Mandy,
    I am happy that I got you thinking! Entertainment may carry baggage, and it is that baggage that is used to pummel worship leaders often. So, I intend to debunk the idea that being entertaining really is any different than what you describe as captivating. We are talking about skills being employed to craft an ethos each week to allow people in our church to express their worship.

    And, this question still stands to my readers: Is a boring worship service more spiritual than one that engages and entertains?

  43. Mandy,
    I am happy that I got you thinking! Entertainment may carry baggage, and it is that baggage that is used to pummel worship leaders often. So, I intend to debunk the idea that being entertaining really is any different than what you describe as captivating. We are talking about skills being employed to craft an ethos each week to allow people in our church to express their worship.

    And, this question still stands to my readers: Is a boring worship service more spiritual than one that engages and entertains?

  44. Mandy,
    I am happy that I got you thinking! Entertainment may carry baggage, and it is that baggage that is used to pummel worship leaders often. So, I intend to debunk the idea that being entertaining really is any different than what you describe as captivating. We are talking about skills being employed to craft an ethos each week to allow people in our church to express their worship.

    And, this question still stands to my readers: Is a boring worship service more spiritual than one that engages and entertains?

  45. Rich: That baggage is DEFINITELY used to pummel worship leaders, I’ll give you an AMEN there!! But (oh the but!), I think being entertaining is subtly but significantly different from being captivating. I’m currently VERY captivated by the Compassion bloggers’ experience, but I’m NOT entertained by it. I think captivating means to demand and hold one’s attention. Entertainment is definitely meant to be captivating, but entertaining has more of a goal to make the onlooker feel good, smile, laugh, etc. Entertainment serves the audience, and is swayed by the audience’s preferences and interests… I don’t think I’d be comfortable with putting corporate worship in that category of entertainment.I do, however, understand your point. Entertainment is captivating. The two are very similar… yes.

    Ok, to your question of the boring/engaging worship service. I’m gonna answer that from the “spiritual gauge” is pushed by the amount of active worship occuring during the service. We’ll say its spiritual if the people are worshiping, simple enough. So, we can assume that if they’re bored, they aren’t God-focused. And, if they’re entertained,they might not be God-focused, either.
    All that being said, my answer is that its possible for both to be equally UNspiritual, because both styles of service have the ability to divert the worshiper’s attention from the One that should be worshiped.

    I know, not what you were aiming for. Its a both/and question… both can be bad, in very different ways.

    Great discussion, Rich.
    blessings!

  46. Rich: That baggage is DEFINITELY used to pummel worship leaders, I’ll give you an AMEN there!! But (oh the but!), I think being entertaining is subtly but significantly different from being captivating. I’m currently VERY captivated by the Compassion bloggers’ experience, but I’m NOT entertained by it. I think captivating means to demand and hold one’s attention. Entertainment is definitely meant to be captivating, but entertaining has more of a goal to make the onlooker feel good, smile, laugh, etc. Entertainment serves the audience, and is swayed by the audience’s preferences and interests… I don’t think I’d be comfortable with putting corporate worship in that category of entertainment.I do, however, understand your point. Entertainment is captivating. The two are very similar… yes.

    Ok, to your question of the boring/engaging worship service. I’m gonna answer that from the “spiritual gauge” is pushed by the amount of active worship occuring during the service. We’ll say its spiritual if the people are worshiping, simple enough. So, we can assume that if they’re bored, they aren’t God-focused. And, if they’re entertained,they might not be God-focused, either.
    All that being said, my answer is that its possible for both to be equally UNspiritual, because both styles of service have the ability to divert the worshiper’s attention from the One that should be worshiped.

    I know, not what you were aiming for. Its a both/and question… both can be bad, in very different ways.

    Great discussion, Rich.
    blessings!

  47. Rich: That baggage is DEFINITELY used to pummel worship leaders, I’ll give you an AMEN there!! But (oh the but!), I think being entertaining is subtly but significantly different from being captivating. I’m currently VERY captivated by the Compassion bloggers’ experience, but I’m NOT entertained by it. I think captivating means to demand and hold one’s attention. Entertainment is definitely meant to be captivating, but entertaining has more of a goal to make the onlooker feel good, smile, laugh, etc. Entertainment serves the audience, and is swayed by the audience’s preferences and interests… I don’t think I’d be comfortable with putting corporate worship in that category of entertainment.I do, however, understand your point. Entertainment is captivating. The two are very similar… yes.

    Ok, to your question of the boring/engaging worship service. I’m gonna answer that from the “spiritual gauge” is pushed by the amount of active worship occuring during the service. We’ll say its spiritual if the people are worshiping, simple enough. So, we can assume that if they’re bored, they aren’t God-focused. And, if they’re entertained,they might not be God-focused, either.
    All that being said, my answer is that its possible for both to be equally UNspiritual, because both styles of service have the ability to divert the worshiper’s attention from the One that should be worshiped.

    I know, not what you were aiming for. Its a both/and question… both can be bad, in very different ways.

    Great discussion, Rich.
    blessings!

  48. Rich: That baggage is DEFINITELY used to pummel worship leaders, I’ll give you an AMEN there!! But (oh the but!), I think being entertaining is subtly but significantly different from being captivating. I’m currently VERY captivated by the Compassion bloggers’ experience, but I’m NOT entertained by it. I think captivating means to demand and hold one’s attention. Entertainment is definitely meant to be captivating, but entertaining has more of a goal to make the onlooker feel good, smile, laugh, etc. Entertainment serves the audience, and is swayed by the audience’s preferences and interests… I don’t think I’d be comfortable with putting corporate worship in that category of entertainment.I do, however, understand your point. Entertainment is captivating. The two are very similar… yes.

    Ok, to your question of the boring/engaging worship service. I’m gonna answer that from the “spiritual gauge” is pushed by the amount of active worship occuring during the service. We’ll say its spiritual if the people are worshiping, simple enough. So, we can assume that if they’re bored, they aren’t God-focused. And, if they’re entertained,they might not be God-focused, either.
    All that being said, my answer is that its possible for both to be equally UNspiritual, because both styles of service have the ability to divert the worshiper’s attention from the One that should be worshiped.

    I know, not what you were aiming for. Its a both/and question… both can be bad, in very different ways.

    Great discussion, Rich.
    blessings!

  49. Mandy, you said: Entertainment is definitely meant to be captivating, but entertaining has more of a goal to make the onlooker feel good, smile, laugh, etc. Entertainment serves the audience, and is swayed by the audience’s preferences and interests…
    Is NOT making people feel good more spiritual in a public worship gathering? Is a pastor giving you a sermon illustration that makes you laugh on the floor leading you away from Jesus? Does a greeter who cannot help make you smile back fail to help you worship?

    Or, is this whole thing just being complicated by our desire to “spiritualize” the human side of our gatherings by claiming that any of the things we might employ in human entertainment cannot possibly be significantly employed in public worship services: art, story, drama, humor…etc.

  50. Mandy, you said: Entertainment is definitely meant to be captivating, but entertaining has more of a goal to make the onlooker feel good, smile, laugh, etc. Entertainment serves the audience, and is swayed by the audience’s preferences and interests…
    Is NOT making people feel good more spiritual in a public worship gathering? Is a pastor giving you a sermon illustration that makes you laugh on the floor leading you away from Jesus? Does a greeter who cannot help make you smile back fail to help you worship?

    Or, is this whole thing just being complicated by our desire to “spiritualize” the human side of our gatherings by claiming that any of the things we might employ in human entertainment cannot possibly be significantly employed in public worship services: art, story, drama, humor…etc.

  51. Mandy, you said: Entertainment is definitely meant to be captivating, but entertaining has more of a goal to make the onlooker feel good, smile, laugh, etc. Entertainment serves the audience, and is swayed by the audience’s preferences and interests…
    Is NOT making people feel good more spiritual in a public worship gathering? Is a pastor giving you a sermon illustration that makes you laugh on the floor leading you away from Jesus? Does a greeter who cannot help make you smile back fail to help you worship?

    Or, is this whole thing just being complicated by our desire to “spiritualize” the human side of our gatherings by claiming that any of the things we might employ in human entertainment cannot possibly be significantly employed in public worship services: art, story, drama, humor…etc.

  52. Mandy, you said: Entertainment is definitely meant to be captivating, but entertaining has more of a goal to make the onlooker feel good, smile, laugh, etc. Entertainment serves the audience, and is swayed by the audience’s preferences and interests…
    Is NOT making people feel good more spiritual in a public worship gathering? Is a pastor giving you a sermon illustration that makes you laugh on the floor leading you away from Jesus? Does a greeter who cannot help make you smile back fail to help you worship?

    Or, is this whole thing just being complicated by our desire to “spiritualize” the human side of our gatherings by claiming that any of the things we might employ in human entertainment cannot possibly be significantly employed in public worship services: art, story, drama, humor…etc.

  53. How good should we feel in the part of the liturgy before we confess our sins? How good should we feel afterward? Should I even be aware of my feelings when confronted with God’s holiness, or should I simply be undone?
    If the liturgy seeks to worship God in the way he has commanded, and does it well enough not to be distracting, shouldn’t any boredom/inappropriate feelings be my problem?

  54. How good should we feel in the part of the liturgy before we confess our sins? How good should we feel afterward? Should I even be aware of my feelings when confronted with God’s holiness, or should I simply be undone?
    If the liturgy seeks to worship God in the way he has commanded, and does it well enough not to be distracting, shouldn’t any boredom/inappropriate feelings be my problem?

  55. How good should we feel in the part of the liturgy before we confess our sins? How good should we feel afterward? Should I even be aware of my feelings when confronted with God’s holiness, or should I simply be undone?
    If the liturgy seeks to worship God in the way he has commanded, and does it well enough not to be distracting, shouldn’t any boredom/inappropriate feelings be my problem?

  56. How good should we feel in the part of the liturgy before we confess our sins? How good should we feel afterward? Should I even be aware of my feelings when confronted with God’s holiness, or should I simply be undone?
    If the liturgy seeks to worship God in the way he has commanded, and does it well enough not to be distracting, shouldn’t any boredom/inappropriate feelings be my problem?

  57. JJ…You should feel what is absolutely appropriate to feel.
    If liturgy is authentically applied, I believe boredom would not even be a question.

    What the heck is wrong with smiling and enJOYing church anyways?? I think we would rather be killjoys and call it spiritual because we might prefer feeling bad at church. Like I said in my earlier posts about this topic–we worship as humans, not as Spock. If we deny being human, we are not authentically worshiping.

  58. JJ…You should feel what is absolutely appropriate to feel.
    If liturgy is authentically applied, I believe boredom would not even be a question.

    What the heck is wrong with smiling and enJOYing church anyways?? I think we would rather be killjoys and call it spiritual because we might prefer feeling bad at church. Like I said in my earlier posts about this topic–we worship as humans, not as Spock. If we deny being human, we are not authentically worshiping.

  59. JJ…You should feel what is absolutely appropriate to feel.
    If liturgy is authentically applied, I believe boredom would not even be a question.

    What the heck is wrong with smiling and enJOYing church anyways?? I think we would rather be killjoys and call it spiritual because we might prefer feeling bad at church. Like I said in my earlier posts about this topic–we worship as humans, not as Spock. If we deny being human, we are not authentically worshiping.

  60. JJ…You should feel what is absolutely appropriate to feel.
    If liturgy is authentically applied, I believe boredom would not even be a question.

    What the heck is wrong with smiling and enJOYing church anyways?? I think we would rather be killjoys and call it spiritual because we might prefer feeling bad at church. Like I said in my earlier posts about this topic–we worship as humans, not as Spock. If we deny being human, we are not authentically worshiping.

  61. Rich,
    My sin makes me feel sorrow. God’s grace makes me feel profoundly joyful. The sorrow is different than when the Chargers lose, and the joy is different than when they win. I think that people fear that we will produce similacre rather than the real thing.

    I say this as someone who thinks that moping during communion is an old-fashioned sin, BTW.

  62. Rich,
    My sin makes me feel sorrow. God’s grace makes me feel profoundly joyful. The sorrow is different than when the Chargers lose, and the joy is different than when they win. I think that people fear that we will produce similacre rather than the real thing.

    I say this as someone who thinks that moping during communion is an old-fashioned sin, BTW.

  63. Rich,
    My sin makes me feel sorrow. God’s grace makes me feel profoundly joyful. The sorrow is different than when the Chargers lose, and the joy is different than when they win. I think that people fear that we will produce similacre rather than the real thing.

    I say this as someone who thinks that moping during communion is an old-fashioned sin, BTW.

  64. Rich,
    My sin makes me feel sorrow. God’s grace makes me feel profoundly joyful. The sorrow is different than when the Chargers lose, and the joy is different than when they win. I think that people fear that we will produce similacre rather than the real thing.

    I say this as someone who thinks that moping during communion is an old-fashioned sin, BTW.

  65. Rich:My hesitation towards entertainment in corporate worship has much to do with the near-idolatrous perspective our culture has on entertainment, and a question of horizontal versus vertical elements of a church service. I think we walk a fine line of distinguishing ourselves from culture, while facilitating a relevant and engaging worship service. While I wholeheartedly believe that emotions and laughter and joy can all be VERY God-glorifying experiences, I would much rather have someone leave pleased because they encountered God rather than because they were entertained.

    And, yes, we CAN encounter God with laughter and joy – and there are times where this is very acceptable…

    But, we can be entertained without God.

    One thing that I think might be complicating this discussion is a philosophy of the “public worship gathering”… Many goals and agendas can be found among today’s American Churches. These goals will color their view of “entertainment” as being appropriate in a worship service.

    I think the end question has more to do with appropriate and biblical objectives for a “public worship gathering.” There is a place for hospitality (greeters, accessible message/decor). There is a place for educating and exhorting the saints (sermon/illustrations/drama/scripture reading). And, I think there is a place for God-focused worship (music, offering, confession, prayer, opportunities to serve using our spiritual gifts). The hospitality team, the teachers, and the worship leaders all glorify God in the use of their spiritual gifts. And they each add to the tone and environment of a “public worship gathering.”

    Yes, these are all elements of a “public worship gathering” but I would not call them worship. I think the difference is that some elements are horizontal in focus, while other elements are vertical in focus.

  66. Rich:My hesitation towards entertainment in corporate worship has much to do with the near-idolatrous perspective our culture has on entertainment, and a question of horizontal versus vertical elements of a church service. I think we walk a fine line of distinguishing ourselves from culture, while facilitating a relevant and engaging worship service. While I wholeheartedly believe that emotions and laughter and joy can all be VERY God-glorifying experiences, I would much rather have someone leave pleased because they encountered God rather than because they were entertained.

    And, yes, we CAN encounter God with laughter and joy – and there are times where this is very acceptable…

    But, we can be entertained without God.

    One thing that I think might be complicating this discussion is a philosophy of the “public worship gathering”… Many goals and agendas can be found among today’s American Churches. These goals will color their view of “entertainment” as being appropriate in a worship service.

    I think the end question has more to do with appropriate and biblical objectives for a “public worship gathering.” There is a place for hospitality (greeters, accessible message/decor). There is a place for educating and exhorting the saints (sermon/illustrations/drama/scripture reading). And, I think there is a place for God-focused worship (music, offering, confession, prayer, opportunities to serve using our spiritual gifts). The hospitality team, the teachers, and the worship leaders all glorify God in the use of their spiritual gifts. And they each add to the tone and environment of a “public worship gathering.”

    Yes, these are all elements of a “public worship gathering” but I would not call them worship. I think the difference is that some elements are horizontal in focus, while other elements are vertical in focus.

  67. Rich:My hesitation towards entertainment in corporate worship has much to do with the near-idolatrous perspective our culture has on entertainment, and a question of horizontal versus vertical elements of a church service. I think we walk a fine line of distinguishing ourselves from culture, while facilitating a relevant and engaging worship service. While I wholeheartedly believe that emotions and laughter and joy can all be VERY God-glorifying experiences, I would much rather have someone leave pleased because they encountered God rather than because they were entertained.

    And, yes, we CAN encounter God with laughter and joy – and there are times where this is very acceptable…

    But, we can be entertained without God.

    One thing that I think might be complicating this discussion is a philosophy of the “public worship gathering”… Many goals and agendas can be found among today’s American Churches. These goals will color their view of “entertainment” as being appropriate in a worship service.

    I think the end question has more to do with appropriate and biblical objectives for a “public worship gathering.” There is a place for hospitality (greeters, accessible message/decor). There is a place for educating and exhorting the saints (sermon/illustrations/drama/scripture reading). And, I think there is a place for God-focused worship (music, offering, confession, prayer, opportunities to serve using our spiritual gifts). The hospitality team, the teachers, and the worship leaders all glorify God in the use of their spiritual gifts. And they each add to the tone and environment of a “public worship gathering.”

    Yes, these are all elements of a “public worship gathering” but I would not call them worship. I think the difference is that some elements are horizontal in focus, while other elements are vertical in focus.

  68. Rich:My hesitation towards entertainment in corporate worship has much to do with the near-idolatrous perspective our culture has on entertainment, and a question of horizontal versus vertical elements of a church service. I think we walk a fine line of distinguishing ourselves from culture, while facilitating a relevant and engaging worship service. While I wholeheartedly believe that emotions and laughter and joy can all be VERY God-glorifying experiences, I would much rather have someone leave pleased because they encountered God rather than because they were entertained.

    And, yes, we CAN encounter God with laughter and joy – and there are times where this is very acceptable…

    But, we can be entertained without God.

    One thing that I think might be complicating this discussion is a philosophy of the “public worship gathering”… Many goals and agendas can be found among today’s American Churches. These goals will color their view of “entertainment” as being appropriate in a worship service.

    I think the end question has more to do with appropriate and biblical objectives for a “public worship gathering.” There is a place for hospitality (greeters, accessible message/decor). There is a place for educating and exhorting the saints (sermon/illustrations/drama/scripture reading). And, I think there is a place for God-focused worship (music, offering, confession, prayer, opportunities to serve using our spiritual gifts). The hospitality team, the teachers, and the worship leaders all glorify God in the use of their spiritual gifts. And they each add to the tone and environment of a “public worship gathering.”

    Yes, these are all elements of a “public worship gathering” but I would not call them worship. I think the difference is that some elements are horizontal in focus, while other elements are vertical in focus.

  69. Mandy
    What I think you are struggling with is the preamble to my post. Liturgy or public worship is not necessarily the “narrow” theological definition. We have to flesh it out. And the Bible gives us freedom to be human and holistic in doing so. The pastor’ sermon including the fun illustrations IS worship–not just parts of it. The entire service including announcements is worship, not just the specific literal parts that have a text that says something explicitly vertical. Why? Because all those things are bringing us to Jesus and pointing us to Him. I am not here to judge motives. Some may have bad ones. All of us have mixed, if we are honest. We bring all of this to “worship.” Just because wine can be used for evil, does not mean we should ban it from our lives or even our worship services during communion.

    The obvious point is not that entertainment IS worship, but that entertainment–and the skills used in it–CAN and probably should be employed in our public worship service.

    Let’s not judge motives, however. Just because someone uses these does not make them bad or good in their motives.

  70. Mandy
    What I think you are struggling with is the preamble to my post. Liturgy or public worship is not necessarily the “narrow” theological definition. We have to flesh it out. And the Bible gives us freedom to be human and holistic in doing so. The pastor’ sermon including the fun illustrations IS worship–not just parts of it. The entire service including announcements is worship, not just the specific literal parts that have a text that says something explicitly vertical. Why? Because all those things are bringing us to Jesus and pointing us to Him. I am not here to judge motives. Some may have bad ones. All of us have mixed, if we are honest. We bring all of this to “worship.” Just because wine can be used for evil, does not mean we should ban it from our lives or even our worship services during communion.

    The obvious point is not that entertainment IS worship, but that entertainment–and the skills used in it–CAN and probably should be employed in our public worship service.

    Let’s not judge motives, however. Just because someone uses these does not make them bad or good in their motives.

  71. Mandy
    What I think you are struggling with is the preamble to my post. Liturgy or public worship is not necessarily the “narrow” theological definition. We have to flesh it out. And the Bible gives us freedom to be human and holistic in doing so. The pastor’ sermon including the fun illustrations IS worship–not just parts of it. The entire service including announcements is worship, not just the specific literal parts that have a text that says something explicitly vertical. Why? Because all those things are bringing us to Jesus and pointing us to Him. I am not here to judge motives. Some may have bad ones. All of us have mixed, if we are honest. We bring all of this to “worship.” Just because wine can be used for evil, does not mean we should ban it from our lives or even our worship services during communion.

    The obvious point is not that entertainment IS worship, but that entertainment–and the skills used in it–CAN and probably should be employed in our public worship service.

    Let’s not judge motives, however. Just because someone uses these does not make them bad or good in their motives.

  72. Mandy
    What I think you are struggling with is the preamble to my post. Liturgy or public worship is not necessarily the “narrow” theological definition. We have to flesh it out. And the Bible gives us freedom to be human and holistic in doing so. The pastor’ sermon including the fun illustrations IS worship–not just parts of it. The entire service including announcements is worship, not just the specific literal parts that have a text that says something explicitly vertical. Why? Because all those things are bringing us to Jesus and pointing us to Him. I am not here to judge motives. Some may have bad ones. All of us have mixed, if we are honest. We bring all of this to “worship.” Just because wine can be used for evil, does not mean we should ban it from our lives or even our worship services during communion.

    The obvious point is not that entertainment IS worship, but that entertainment–and the skills used in it–CAN and probably should be employed in our public worship service.

    Let’s not judge motives, however. Just because someone uses these does not make them bad or good in their motives.

  73. Rich,
    Is it possible that some of the things that engage and *ahem* entertain Christians may be poorly received by non-Christians because “the mind set on the flesh is death?”

    I think this is one of the largest objections to church-as-entertainment that most have.

    The other objection is a bit more slippery. Since we are called to “worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,” what boundaries do we place on our practice? I have never seen anyone reverently “do the sprinkler,” so there’s at least one form of entertainment denied to the worshipper. As a non-RP guy, you’ve got a lot of hard questions to ask yourself.

  74. Rich,
    Is it possible that some of the things that engage and *ahem* entertain Christians may be poorly received by non-Christians because “the mind set on the flesh is death?”

    I think this is one of the largest objections to church-as-entertainment that most have.

    The other objection is a bit more slippery. Since we are called to “worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,” what boundaries do we place on our practice? I have never seen anyone reverently “do the sprinkler,” so there’s at least one form of entertainment denied to the worshipper. As a non-RP guy, you’ve got a lot of hard questions to ask yourself.

  75. Rich,
    Is it possible that some of the things that engage and *ahem* entertain Christians may be poorly received by non-Christians because “the mind set on the flesh is death?”

    I think this is one of the largest objections to church-as-entertainment that most have.

    The other objection is a bit more slippery. Since we are called to “worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,” what boundaries do we place on our practice? I have never seen anyone reverently “do the sprinkler,” so there’s at least one form of entertainment denied to the worshipper. As a non-RP guy, you’ve got a lot of hard questions to ask yourself.

  76. Rich,
    Is it possible that some of the things that engage and *ahem* entertain Christians may be poorly received by non-Christians because “the mind set on the flesh is death?”

    I think this is one of the largest objections to church-as-entertainment that most have.

    The other objection is a bit more slippery. Since we are called to “worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,” what boundaries do we place on our practice? I have never seen anyone reverently “do the sprinkler,” so there’s at least one form of entertainment denied to the worshipper. As a non-RP guy, you’ve got a lot of hard questions to ask yourself.

  77. what is a non-RP guy, just wondering?

  78. what is a non-RP guy, just wondering?

  79. what is a non-RP guy, just wondering?

  80. what is a non-RP guy, just wondering?

  81. Mr. Felden… (you are from Rancho Church or school?)
    NP?… well, everything I regard as valuable to put in a “worship service” is indeed scripturally based and exampled. For instance, singing, preaching (which include parable), “ordinances” (rather than sacraments), telling stories (testimony), instrumental music, dancing, shouting, kneeling, quiet, smells, pictures, pageantry, poetry, and so many postures that every culture can fit in, including “the sprinkler” which our kids might actually perform in coming week.

    One thing to note, in the OT there is a “Gentile court” at the Temple and in 1Corinthians 14 we see that unbelievers colored the activity of public worship. So, being sensitive to “seekers” is truly in the practice of scripture.

    What you miss here is that to be so legalistic about the human “tools” entertainment is to basically assume they are unscriptural. They are exampled in the very way Jesus taught, the poetry and narrative of the scripture itself. Similar arguments were felt by a young man named Isaac Watts who wrote some of our best-loved hymns. This is nothing new. I suggest that you champion, at the very least the biblical “intent” and biblical “results” of such an activity as using skills (i.e., story telling) even if disagreeing on the method.

  82. Mr. Felden… (you are from Rancho Church or school?)
    NP?… well, everything I regard as valuable to put in a “worship service” is indeed scripturally based and exampled. For instance, singing, preaching (which include parable), “ordinances” (rather than sacraments), telling stories (testimony), instrumental music, dancing, shouting, kneeling, quiet, smells, pictures, pageantry, poetry, and so many postures that every culture can fit in, including “the sprinkler” which our kids might actually perform in coming week.

    One thing to note, in the OT there is a “Gentile court” at the Temple and in 1Corinthians 14 we see that unbelievers colored the activity of public worship. So, being sensitive to “seekers” is truly in the practice of scripture.

    What you miss here is that to be so legalistic about the human “tools” entertainment is to basically assume they are unscriptural. They are exampled in the very way Jesus taught, the poetry and narrative of the scripture itself. Similar arguments were felt by a young man named Isaac Watts who wrote some of our best-loved hymns. This is nothing new. I suggest that you champion, at the very least the biblical “intent” and biblical “results” of such an activity as using skills (i.e., story telling) even if disagreeing on the method.

  83. Mr. Felden… (you are from Rancho Church or school?)
    NP?… well, everything I regard as valuable to put in a “worship service” is indeed scripturally based and exampled. For instance, singing, preaching (which include parable), “ordinances” (rather than sacraments), telling stories (testimony), instrumental music, dancing, shouting, kneeling, quiet, smells, pictures, pageantry, poetry, and so many postures that every culture can fit in, including “the sprinkler” which our kids might actually perform in coming week.

    One thing to note, in the OT there is a “Gentile court” at the Temple and in 1Corinthians 14 we see that unbelievers colored the activity of public worship. So, being sensitive to “seekers” is truly in the practice of scripture.

    What you miss here is that to be so legalistic about the human “tools” entertainment is to basically assume they are unscriptural. They are exampled in the very way Jesus taught, the poetry and narrative of the scripture itself. Similar arguments were felt by a young man named Isaac Watts who wrote some of our best-loved hymns. This is nothing new. I suggest that you champion, at the very least the biblical “intent” and biblical “results” of such an activity as using skills (i.e., story telling) even if disagreeing on the method.

  84. Mr. Felden… (you are from Rancho Church or school?)
    NP?… well, everything I regard as valuable to put in a “worship service” is indeed scripturally based and exampled. For instance, singing, preaching (which include parable), “ordinances” (rather than sacraments), telling stories (testimony), instrumental music, dancing, shouting, kneeling, quiet, smells, pictures, pageantry, poetry, and so many postures that every culture can fit in, including “the sprinkler” which our kids might actually perform in coming week.

    One thing to note, in the OT there is a “Gentile court” at the Temple and in 1Corinthians 14 we see that unbelievers colored the activity of public worship. So, being sensitive to “seekers” is truly in the practice of scripture.

    What you miss here is that to be so legalistic about the human “tools” entertainment is to basically assume they are unscriptural. They are exampled in the very way Jesus taught, the poetry and narrative of the scripture itself. Similar arguments were felt by a young man named Isaac Watts who wrote some of our best-loved hymns. This is nothing new. I suggest that you champion, at the very least the biblical “intent” and biblical “results” of such an activity as using skills (i.e., story telling) even if disagreeing on the method.

  85. non-RP: Non-Regulative Principle.
    The RP is the idea that we should only worship God in the ways he has commanded. It can be thought of as, “everything not commanded is forbidden.”

    The Normative Principle is the idea that the worship of God in the Bible is the norm for our practice, but not the only acceptable worship. In other words, “everything not forbidden is allowable.”

    RP-types point to Leviticus 10:1-2 and Hebrews 12:28-29 as the foundation for their view.

    Rich:

    I expressed myself poorly. Some who are not fond of the seeker-sensitive model argue that some entertainments are merely worldly trifles that show a lack of confidence in the means that God has ordained. Thus, churches that make entertainment an end in itself, or displace word and sacrament with it, detract from true worship of God.

    The concern is not that unregenerate would drink to deeply of the means of grace, but rather that they would be removed from God’s people.

  86. non-RP: Non-Regulative Principle.
    The RP is the idea that we should only worship God in the ways he has commanded. It can be thought of as, “everything not commanded is forbidden.”

    The Normative Principle is the idea that the worship of God in the Bible is the norm for our practice, but not the only acceptable worship. In other words, “everything not forbidden is allowable.”

    RP-types point to Leviticus 10:1-2 and Hebrews 12:28-29 as the foundation for their view.

    Rich:

    I expressed myself poorly. Some who are not fond of the seeker-sensitive model argue that some entertainments are merely worldly trifles that show a lack of confidence in the means that God has ordained. Thus, churches that make entertainment an end in itself, or displace word and sacrament with it, detract from true worship of God.

    The concern is not that unregenerate would drink to deeply of the means of grace, but rather that they would be removed from God’s people.

  87. non-RP: Non-Regulative Principle.
    The RP is the idea that we should only worship God in the ways he has commanded. It can be thought of as, “everything not commanded is forbidden.”

    The Normative Principle is the idea that the worship of God in the Bible is the norm for our practice, but not the only acceptable worship. In other words, “everything not forbidden is allowable.”

    RP-types point to Leviticus 10:1-2 and Hebrews 12:28-29 as the foundation for their view.

    Rich:

    I expressed myself poorly. Some who are not fond of the seeker-sensitive model argue that some entertainments are merely worldly trifles that show a lack of confidence in the means that God has ordained. Thus, churches that make entertainment an end in itself, or displace word and sacrament with it, detract from true worship of God.

    The concern is not that unregenerate would drink to deeply of the means of grace, but rather that they would be removed from God’s people.

  88. non-RP: Non-Regulative Principle.
    The RP is the idea that we should only worship God in the ways he has commanded. It can be thought of as, “everything not commanded is forbidden.”

    The Normative Principle is the idea that the worship of God in the Bible is the norm for our practice, but not the only acceptable worship. In other words, “everything not forbidden is allowable.”

    RP-types point to Leviticus 10:1-2 and Hebrews 12:28-29 as the foundation for their view.

    Rich:

    I expressed myself poorly. Some who are not fond of the seeker-sensitive model argue that some entertainments are merely worldly trifles that show a lack of confidence in the means that God has ordained. Thus, churches that make entertainment an end in itself, or displace word and sacrament with it, detract from true worship of God.

    The concern is not that unregenerate would drink to deeply of the means of grace, but rather that they would be removed from God’s people.

  89. Legalistic? Ouch.
    I’m not giving you a Talmud of how to conduct worship. I was trying to use a ridiculous example of entertainment that isn’t appropriate for corporate worship because of the principles that God has given. Let me try again.

    If we have a motocross star jump over a 20ft cross while pyrotechnics flare up and the congregation shouts, can we call it worship?

    Not everything we enjoy is appropriate for the worship service. That’s all I was trying to say. There is nothing wrong with drinking a beer or doing your taxes, but neither is appropriate for our corporate worship.

    I Corinthians is an interesting book. It is full of rebukes for a church that worshipped God in an unacceptable manner. They had turned communion into something that satisfied them (at least the rich ones) but made a mockery of its true nature. Ch. 14 contains a rebuke of believers who found something more exciting than the proclamation of God’s word, the only hope for the unbeliever (still don’t really like the term seeker, cf. Romans 3:10-11). Paul is not rebuking them for not achieving some standard of worldly attractiveness.

    Isaac Watts is an interesting example to use. He realized at a very early age that the hymns of his day failed to focus on God. One he found very egregious talked about sea monsters. The hymnwriters of his day had taken topics that interested them and had nothing to do with the living God and made them into songs. Perhaps they found them entertaining?

    I’m glad you look for scriptural basis for all your practices. God bless you in your endeavors.

  90. Legalistic? Ouch.
    I’m not giving you a Talmud of how to conduct worship. I was trying to use a ridiculous example of entertainment that isn’t appropriate for corporate worship because of the principles that God has given. Let me try again.

    If we have a motocross star jump over a 20ft cross while pyrotechnics flare up and the congregation shouts, can we call it worship?

    Not everything we enjoy is appropriate for the worship service. That’s all I was trying to say. There is nothing wrong with drinking a beer or doing your taxes, but neither is appropriate for our corporate worship.

    I Corinthians is an interesting book. It is full of rebukes for a church that worshipped God in an unacceptable manner. They had turned communion into something that satisfied them (at least the rich ones) but made a mockery of its true nature. Ch. 14 contains a rebuke of believers who found something more exciting than the proclamation of God’s word, the only hope for the unbeliever (still don’t really like the term seeker, cf. Romans 3:10-11). Paul is not rebuking them for not achieving some standard of worldly attractiveness.

    Isaac Watts is an interesting example to use. He realized at a very early age that the hymns of his day failed to focus on God. One he found very egregious talked about sea monsters. The hymnwriters of his day had taken topics that interested them and had nothing to do with the living God and made them into songs. Perhaps they found them entertaining?

    I’m glad you look for scriptural basis for all your practices. God bless you in your endeavors.

  91. Legalistic? Ouch.
    I’m not giving you a Talmud of how to conduct worship. I was trying to use a ridiculous example of entertainment that isn’t appropriate for corporate worship because of the principles that God has given. Let me try again.

    If we have a motocross star jump over a 20ft cross while pyrotechnics flare up and the congregation shouts, can we call it worship?

    Not everything we enjoy is appropriate for the worship service. That’s all I was trying to say. There is nothing wrong with drinking a beer or doing your taxes, but neither is appropriate for our corporate worship.

    I Corinthians is an interesting book. It is full of rebukes for a church that worshipped God in an unacceptable manner. They had turned communion into something that satisfied them (at least the rich ones) but made a mockery of its true nature. Ch. 14 contains a rebuke of believers who found something more exciting than the proclamation of God’s word, the only hope for the unbeliever (still don’t really like the term seeker, cf. Romans 3:10-11). Paul is not rebuking them for not achieving some standard of worldly attractiveness.

    Isaac Watts is an interesting example to use. He realized at a very early age that the hymns of his day failed to focus on God. One he found very egregious talked about sea monsters. The hymnwriters of his day had taken topics that interested them and had nothing to do with the living God and made them into songs. Perhaps they found them entertaining?

    I’m glad you look for scriptural basis for all your practices. God bless you in your endeavors.

  92. Legalistic? Ouch.
    I’m not giving you a Talmud of how to conduct worship. I was trying to use a ridiculous example of entertainment that isn’t appropriate for corporate worship because of the principles that God has given. Let me try again.

    If we have a motocross star jump over a 20ft cross while pyrotechnics flare up and the congregation shouts, can we call it worship?

    Not everything we enjoy is appropriate for the worship service. That’s all I was trying to say. There is nothing wrong with drinking a beer or doing your taxes, but neither is appropriate for our corporate worship.

    I Corinthians is an interesting book. It is full of rebukes for a church that worshipped God in an unacceptable manner. They had turned communion into something that satisfied them (at least the rich ones) but made a mockery of its true nature. Ch. 14 contains a rebuke of believers who found something more exciting than the proclamation of God’s word, the only hope for the unbeliever (still don’t really like the term seeker, cf. Romans 3:10-11). Paul is not rebuking them for not achieving some standard of worldly attractiveness.

    Isaac Watts is an interesting example to use. He realized at a very early age that the hymns of his day failed to focus on God. One he found very egregious talked about sea monsters. The hymnwriters of his day had taken topics that interested them and had nothing to do with the living God and made them into songs. Perhaps they found them entertaining?

    I’m glad you look for scriptural basis for all your practices. God bless you in your endeavors.

  93. J2’s a good man. Tell him hi for me. May the circle remain unbroken.

  94. J2’s a good man. Tell him hi for me. May the circle remain unbroken.

  95. J2’s a good man. Tell him hi for me. May the circle remain unbroken.

  96. J2’s a good man. Tell him hi for me. May the circle remain unbroken.

  97. More good stuff here, Rich. I have to weigh in with mandy and J1 so I won’t rehash what they’ve already said.
    Let’s take a step back and look at worship and its local and corporate subset, liturgy. Pure (it’s a commentary in itself to have to qualify worship with pure) worship has an unchanging core or essence that is Biblically proscribed and stands outside of time and culture. To turn it into liturgy for use in a corporate setting, we as musical liturgy leaders put a presentation layer over it. The presentation layer is a vehicle that allows us to convey the core and essence of
    worship to the audience. The presentation will vary in different cultures, but the essence remains the same. A presentation layer is not necessary (as Matt Redman pointed out in his song “Heart Of Worship”) but is very helpful and Biblically proscribed as well, albeit not in great detail.

    My personal opinion is that we don’t need any more focus put onto the presentation layer in terms of how better it could entertain the audience. I think we’re already doing a good job of that. I say we’re doing a good job because all of the comments I get walking through the church between services deal with the presentation. I get comments like “the band was really tight today”, or “I loved that keyboard part”, or “awesome guitar solo” or “so-and-so nailed that vocal”. These are audience comments, not liturgy team comments (our liturgy team definitely should be commenting on these technicalities). From these comments I gather that what struck them was our presentation, not our essence. If the essence had been conveyed well we would get more comments like “during singing I was reminded of God’s love”, or, “that really brought John 3:16 home to me”, or, “that brought me to my knees as I thought of a behavior that required repentance”.

    Somehow our music needs to be a better vehicle for communicating the essence. The entertainment value of our music can be so good that the essence is overpowered. Please don’t think I’m advocating boring music because boring music doesn’t communicate well either; the listener will be distracted (entertained, if you will) away from the essence of worship by boring or out-of-date or poorly-executed music as well. The presentation is the messenger — we need a great messenger but we don’t want to put our focus on the messenger. In the end, the music has to gracefully fall away and leave the essence. Almost like if we were interviewing someone after the Sunday worship service, the conversation would go something like this:
    Q. How was worship today?
    A. Great. All I could think about was God’s love for me; I was struck that I should show more of it to my employee.
    Q. How was the music?
    A. It was wonderful.
    Q. What was wonderful about it?
    A. Well… umm… I don’t know… I really can’t point out anything specific… hmmm…, I just remember it was good stuff.

    Hey, keep stirring up those coals; keep them red hot.

  98. More good stuff here, Rich. I have to weigh in with mandy and J1 so I won’t rehash what they’ve already said.
    Let’s take a step back and look at worship and its local and corporate subset, liturgy. Pure (it’s a commentary in itself to have to qualify worship with pure) worship has an unchanging core or essence that is Biblically proscribed and stands outside of time and culture. To turn it into liturgy for use in a corporate setting, we as musical liturgy leaders put a presentation layer over it. The presentation layer is a vehicle that allows us to convey the core and essence of
    worship to the audience. The presentation will vary in different cultures, but the essence remains the same. A presentation layer is not necessary (as Matt Redman pointed out in his song “Heart Of Worship”) but is very helpful and Biblically proscribed as well, albeit not in great detail.

    My personal opinion is that we don’t need any more focus put onto the presentation layer in terms of how better it could entertain the audience. I think we’re already doing a good job of that. I say we’re doing a good job because all of the comments I get walking through the church between services deal with the presentation. I get comments like “the band was really tight today”, or “I loved that keyboard part”, or “awesome guitar solo” or “so-and-so nailed that vocal”. These are audience comments, not liturgy team comments (our liturgy team definitely should be commenting on these technicalities). From these comments I gather that what struck them was our presentation, not our essence. If the essence had been conveyed well we would get more comments like “during singing I was reminded of God’s love”, or, “that really brought John 3:16 home to me”, or, “that brought me to my knees as I thought of a behavior that required repentance”.

    Somehow our music needs to be a better vehicle for communicating the essence. The entertainment value of our music can be so good that the essence is overpowered. Please don’t think I’m advocating boring music because boring music doesn’t communicate well either; the listener will be distracted (entertained, if you will) away from the essence of worship by boring or out-of-date or poorly-executed music as well. The presentation is the messenger — we need a great messenger but we don’t want to put our focus on the messenger. In the end, the music has to gracefully fall away and leave the essence. Almost like if we were interviewing someone after the Sunday worship service, the conversation would go something like this:
    Q. How was worship today?
    A. Great. All I could think about was God’s love for me; I was struck that I should show more of it to my employee.
    Q. How was the music?
    A. It was wonderful.
    Q. What was wonderful about it?
    A. Well… umm… I don’t know… I really can’t point out anything specific… hmmm…, I just remember it was good stuff.

    Hey, keep stirring up those coals; keep them red hot.

  99. More good stuff here, Rich. I have to weigh in with mandy and J1 so I won’t rehash what they’ve already said.
    Let’s take a step back and look at worship and its local and corporate subset, liturgy. Pure (it’s a commentary in itself to have to qualify worship with pure) worship has an unchanging core or essence that is Biblically proscribed and stands outside of time and culture. To turn it into liturgy for use in a corporate setting, we as musical liturgy leaders put a presentation layer over it. The presentation layer is a vehicle that allows us to convey the core and essence of
    worship to the audience. The presentation will vary in different cultures, but the essence remains the same. A presentation layer is not necessary (as Matt Redman pointed out in his song “Heart Of Worship”) but is very helpful and Biblically proscribed as well, albeit not in great detail.

    My personal opinion is that we don’t need any more focus put onto the presentation layer in terms of how better it could entertain the audience. I think we’re already doing a good job of that. I say we’re doing a good job because all of the comments I get walking through the church between services deal with the presentation. I get comments like “the band was really tight today”, or “I loved that keyboard part”, or “awesome guitar solo” or “so-and-so nailed that vocal”. These are audience comments, not liturgy team comments (our liturgy team definitely should be commenting on these technicalities). From these comments I gather that what struck them was our presentation, not our essence. If the essence had been conveyed well we would get more comments like “during singing I was reminded of God’s love”, or, “that really brought John 3:16 home to me”, or, “that brought me to my knees as I thought of a behavior that required repentance”.

    Somehow our music needs to be a better vehicle for communicating the essence. The entertainment value of our music can be so good that the essence is overpowered. Please don’t think I’m advocating boring music because boring music doesn’t communicate well either; the listener will be distracted (entertained, if you will) away from the essence of worship by boring or out-of-date or poorly-executed music as well. The presentation is the messenger — we need a great messenger but we don’t want to put our focus on the messenger. In the end, the music has to gracefully fall away and leave the essence. Almost like if we were interviewing someone after the Sunday worship service, the conversation would go something like this:
    Q. How was worship today?
    A. Great. All I could think about was God’s love for me; I was struck that I should show more of it to my employee.
    Q. How was the music?
    A. It was wonderful.
    Q. What was wonderful about it?
    A. Well… umm… I don’t know… I really can’t point out anything specific… hmmm…, I just remember it was good stuff.

    Hey, keep stirring up those coals; keep them red hot.

  100. More good stuff here, Rich. I have to weigh in with mandy and J1 so I won’t rehash what they’ve already said.
    Let’s take a step back and look at worship and its local and corporate subset, liturgy. Pure (it’s a commentary in itself to have to qualify worship with pure) worship has an unchanging core or essence that is Biblically proscribed and stands outside of time and culture. To turn it into liturgy for use in a corporate setting, we as musical liturgy leaders put a presentation layer over it. The presentation layer is a vehicle that allows us to convey the core and essence of
    worship to the audience. The presentation will vary in different cultures, but the essence remains the same. A presentation layer is not necessary (as Matt Redman pointed out in his song “Heart Of Worship”) but is very helpful and Biblically proscribed as well, albeit not in great detail.

    My personal opinion is that we don’t need any more focus put onto the presentation layer in terms of how better it could entertain the audience. I think we’re already doing a good job of that. I say we’re doing a good job because all of the comments I get walking through the church between services deal with the presentation. I get comments like “the band was really tight today”, or “I loved that keyboard part”, or “awesome guitar solo” or “so-and-so nailed that vocal”. These are audience comments, not liturgy team comments (our liturgy team definitely should be commenting on these technicalities). From these comments I gather that what struck them was our presentation, not our essence. If the essence had been conveyed well we would get more comments like “during singing I was reminded of God’s love”, or, “that really brought John 3:16 home to me”, or, “that brought me to my knees as I thought of a behavior that required repentance”.

    Somehow our music needs to be a better vehicle for communicating the essence. The entertainment value of our music can be so good that the essence is overpowered. Please don’t think I’m advocating boring music because boring music doesn’t communicate well either; the listener will be distracted (entertained, if you will) away from the essence of worship by boring or out-of-date or poorly-executed music as well. The presentation is the messenger — we need a great messenger but we don’t want to put our focus on the messenger. In the end, the music has to gracefully fall away and leave the essence. Almost like if we were interviewing someone after the Sunday worship service, the conversation would go something like this:
    Q. How was worship today?
    A. Great. All I could think about was God’s love for me; I was struck that I should show more of it to my employee.
    Q. How was the music?
    A. It was wonderful.
    Q. What was wonderful about it?
    A. Well… umm… I don’t know… I really can’t point out anything specific… hmmm…, I just remember it was good stuff.

    Hey, keep stirring up those coals; keep them red hot.

  101. Dan–Can something that simply is beautiful be part of worship, such as an amazingly sung solo? Yes. Why, because in scripture we “make His praise glorious.” If you realize all beauty is from God, then making things as such can be a great tool in creating a moving and authentic worship ethos. My point about “entertainment” is that the skills of such may help create beauty and make praise a glorious thing in our public worship settings. The joy itself is OK. We should not fear that, even though it “may” be a problem or is for some.

  102. Dan–Can something that simply is beautiful be part of worship, such as an amazingly sung solo? Yes. Why, because in scripture we “make His praise glorious.” If you realize all beauty is from God, then making things as such can be a great tool in creating a moving and authentic worship ethos. My point about “entertainment” is that the skills of such may help create beauty and make praise a glorious thing in our public worship settings. The joy itself is OK. We should not fear that, even though it “may” be a problem or is for some.

  103. Dan–Can something that simply is beautiful be part of worship, such as an amazingly sung solo? Yes. Why, because in scripture we “make His praise glorious.” If you realize all beauty is from God, then making things as such can be a great tool in creating a moving and authentic worship ethos. My point about “entertainment” is that the skills of such may help create beauty and make praise a glorious thing in our public worship settings. The joy itself is OK. We should not fear that, even though it “may” be a problem or is for some.

  104. Dan–Can something that simply is beautiful be part of worship, such as an amazingly sung solo? Yes. Why, because in scripture we “make His praise glorious.” If you realize all beauty is from God, then making things as such can be a great tool in creating a moving and authentic worship ethos. My point about “entertainment” is that the skills of such may help create beauty and make praise a glorious thing in our public worship settings. The joy itself is OK. We should not fear that, even though it “may” be a problem or is for some.

  105. Rich–Are you saying that based on the last four words of Psalm 66:2 anything that simply is beautiful can be used in the local church worship service?

  106. Rich–Are you saying that based on the last four words of Psalm 66:2 anything that simply is beautiful can be used in the local church worship service?

  107. Rich–Are you saying that based on the last four words of Psalm 66:2 anything that simply is beautiful can be used in the local church worship service?

  108. Rich–Are you saying that based on the last four words of Psalm 66:2 anything that simply is beautiful can be used in the local church worship service?

  109. Dan:
    Legalistic I-am-looking-to-prohibit way of thinking has this logic: “If some entertainment is bad and since some might have bad motives in using the skills of entertainment, then entertainment should be prohibited and discouraged.”

    Freedom to use what scripture allows, and what it does not prohibit has this logic: “The skills of entertainment sometimes are effective in helping keep engaged or from being distracted from the goal of worship, so when appropriate I gladly will use them.”

    So, if I am not looking to create legalism, I can have freedom to say that since beauty is a part of how our worship is described in scripture, I will fully accept using it.

  110. Dan:
    Legalistic I-am-looking-to-prohibit way of thinking has this logic: “If some entertainment is bad and since some might have bad motives in using the skills of entertainment, then entertainment should be prohibited and discouraged.”

    Freedom to use what scripture allows, and what it does not prohibit has this logic: “The skills of entertainment sometimes are effective in helping keep engaged or from being distracted from the goal of worship, so when appropriate I gladly will use them.”

    So, if I am not looking to create legalism, I can have freedom to say that since beauty is a part of how our worship is described in scripture, I will fully accept using it.

  111. Dan:
    Legalistic I-am-looking-to-prohibit way of thinking has this logic: “If some entertainment is bad and since some might have bad motives in using the skills of entertainment, then entertainment should be prohibited and discouraged.”

    Freedom to use what scripture allows, and what it does not prohibit has this logic: “The skills of entertainment sometimes are effective in helping keep engaged or from being distracted from the goal of worship, so when appropriate I gladly will use them.”

    So, if I am not looking to create legalism, I can have freedom to say that since beauty is a part of how our worship is described in scripture, I will fully accept using it.

  112. Dan:
    Legalistic I-am-looking-to-prohibit way of thinking has this logic: “If some entertainment is bad and since some might have bad motives in using the skills of entertainment, then entertainment should be prohibited and discouraged.”

    Freedom to use what scripture allows, and what it does not prohibit has this logic: “The skills of entertainment sometimes are effective in helping keep engaged or from being distracted from the goal of worship, so when appropriate I gladly will use them.”

    So, if I am not looking to create legalism, I can have freedom to say that since beauty is a part of how our worship is described in scripture, I will fully accept using it.

  113. Your second paragraph could be rewritten without using the word entertainment:When appropriate I will gladly use anything scripture allows and does not prohibit that is effective in helping keep engaged or from being distracted from the goal of worship.

  114. Your second paragraph could be rewritten without using the word entertainment:When appropriate I will gladly use anything scripture allows and does not prohibit that is effective in helping keep engaged or from being distracted from the goal of worship.

  115. Your second paragraph could be rewritten without using the word entertainment:When appropriate I will gladly use anything scripture allows and does not prohibit that is effective in helping keep engaged or from being distracted from the goal of worship.

  116. Your second paragraph could be rewritten without using the word entertainment:When appropriate I will gladly use anything scripture allows and does not prohibit that is effective in helping keep engaged or from being distracted from the goal of worship.

  117. Dan and Rich,
    Well put (and close to RP). To ignore the prohibitions of the scripture means that we are being willfully ignorant of our own tendency to idolatry (1 Cor. 10:11-14). The golden calf was not presented as another god, but rather YHWH Himself.

  118. Dan and Rich,
    Well put (and close to RP). To ignore the prohibitions of the scripture means that we are being willfully ignorant of our own tendency to idolatry (1 Cor. 10:11-14). The golden calf was not presented as another god, but rather YHWH Himself.

  119. Dan and Rich,
    Well put (and close to RP). To ignore the prohibitions of the scripture means that we are being willfully ignorant of our own tendency to idolatry (1 Cor. 10:11-14). The golden calf was not presented as another god, but rather YHWH Himself.

  120. Dan and Rich,
    Well put (and close to RP). To ignore the prohibitions of the scripture means that we are being willfully ignorant of our own tendency to idolatry (1 Cor. 10:11-14). The golden calf was not presented as another god, but rather YHWH Himself.

  121. Most seeker-sensitive people I know would be RP. It is this very conversation and use of the word “entertainment” that is here to help people think, rather than assume things.
    Dan the “when appropriate” is the discussion here and a valid one. I think this is where in earlier posts, I talked about preferences and style and culture. These determine the “when appropriate” and we must be very forgiving of each other on this category. Otherwise, we are being legalistic and adding law where there is none.

  122. Most seeker-sensitive people I know would be RP. It is this very conversation and use of the word “entertainment” that is here to help people think, rather than assume things.
    Dan the “when appropriate” is the discussion here and a valid one. I think this is where in earlier posts, I talked about preferences and style and culture. These determine the “when appropriate” and we must be very forgiving of each other on this category. Otherwise, we are being legalistic and adding law where there is none.

  123. Most seeker-sensitive people I know would be RP. It is this very conversation and use of the word “entertainment” that is here to help people think, rather than assume things.
    Dan the “when appropriate” is the discussion here and a valid one. I think this is where in earlier posts, I talked about preferences and style and culture. These determine the “when appropriate” and we must be very forgiving of each other on this category. Otherwise, we are being legalistic and adding law where there is none.

  124. Most seeker-sensitive people I know would be RP. It is this very conversation and use of the word “entertainment” that is here to help people think, rather than assume things.
    Dan the “when appropriate” is the discussion here and a valid one. I think this is where in earlier posts, I talked about preferences and style and culture. These determine the “when appropriate” and we must be very forgiving of each other on this category. Otherwise, we are being legalistic and adding law where there is none.

  125. Rich,
    Close to RP. Instead of “allows,” the RPoW would use “commands.” The classic statement of this doctrine is in the Wesminster Confession:

    The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and does good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.

    The “imaginations and devices” language is usually the dividing line between RP and NP folk. The Greek Orthodox and others don’t like the “visible representation” language.

    By all means, don’t add law where there is none. But don’t remove it where it exists. As far as I know, we are still to worship God alone, make no graven images, keep the Sabbath day holy, sing, pray, preach the scriptures, take the sacraments, and sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. If these things become optional, God has changed his mind.

    For a gut check, ask yourself if you would sing all of Psalm 45 in a worship service. Is it tempting to cut out vss. 5 & 7? And yet, this is commanded worship (Col. 3:16).

  126. Rich,
    Close to RP. Instead of “allows,” the RPoW would use “commands.” The classic statement of this doctrine is in the Wesminster Confession:

    The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and does good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.

    The “imaginations and devices” language is usually the dividing line between RP and NP folk. The Greek Orthodox and others don’t like the “visible representation” language.

    By all means, don’t add law where there is none. But don’t remove it where it exists. As far as I know, we are still to worship God alone, make no graven images, keep the Sabbath day holy, sing, pray, preach the scriptures, take the sacraments, and sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. If these things become optional, God has changed his mind.

    For a gut check, ask yourself if you would sing all of Psalm 45 in a worship service. Is it tempting to cut out vss. 5 & 7? And yet, this is commanded worship (Col. 3:16).

  127. Rich,
    Close to RP. Instead of “allows,” the RPoW would use “commands.” The classic statement of this doctrine is in the Wesminster Confession:

    The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and does good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.

    The “imaginations and devices” language is usually the dividing line between RP and NP folk. The Greek Orthodox and others don’t like the “visible representation” language.

    By all means, don’t add law where there is none. But don’t remove it where it exists. As far as I know, we are still to worship God alone, make no graven images, keep the Sabbath day holy, sing, pray, preach the scriptures, take the sacraments, and sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. If these things become optional, God has changed his mind.

    For a gut check, ask yourself if you would sing all of Psalm 45 in a worship service. Is it tempting to cut out vss. 5 & 7? And yet, this is commanded worship (Col. 3:16).

  128. Rich,
    Close to RP. Instead of “allows,” the RPoW would use “commands.” The classic statement of this doctrine is in the Wesminster Confession:

    The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and does good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.

    The “imaginations and devices” language is usually the dividing line between RP and NP folk. The Greek Orthodox and others don’t like the “visible representation” language.

    By all means, don’t add law where there is none. But don’t remove it where it exists. As far as I know, we are still to worship God alone, make no graven images, keep the Sabbath day holy, sing, pray, preach the scriptures, take the sacraments, and sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. If these things become optional, God has changed his mind.

    For a gut check, ask yourself if you would sing all of Psalm 45 in a worship service. Is it tempting to cut out vss. 5 & 7? And yet, this is commanded worship (Col. 3:16).

  129. Looks like I’m late getting in on this conversation…
    Nevertheless, while I do see and in fact support the value in redeeming certain terms from their negative connotations (ie. baggage), I think that this is a case in which there are definite distinctions to be made. More than just semantics.

    Personally, I prefer the term “engaging” rather than “entertaining” when speaking of what worship should be.

    The term/concept of entertainment (whether by definition or connotation) denotes passivity—for anyone other than the entertainer. In the process of being entertained, I am simply an observer whose attention has been captured.

    Engagement, on the other hand, indicates an actual connection or drawing in. Some forms of entertainment can be engaging—I’m often amazed at how people respond and sing at concerts (secular or otherwise) in ways (and at volumes) they would NEVER use in church. But what’s happening in those instances of arm waving and screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs is not merely a result of being entertained but, rather, engaged.

    Similarly, God doesn’t just impress us with his beauty or entertain us with his miracles, he invites us into a relationship. All of the pagentry of liturgy is meant to be beautiful AS it points to the life-changing mystery and beauty of the gospel.

  130. Looks like I’m late getting in on this conversation…
    Nevertheless, while I do see and in fact support the value in redeeming certain terms from their negative connotations (ie. baggage), I think that this is a case in which there are definite distinctions to be made. More than just semantics.

    Personally, I prefer the term “engaging” rather than “entertaining” when speaking of what worship should be.

    The term/concept of entertainment (whether by definition or connotation) denotes passivity—for anyone other than the entertainer. In the process of being entertained, I am simply an observer whose attention has been captured.

    Engagement, on the other hand, indicates an actual connection or drawing in. Some forms of entertainment can be engaging—I’m often amazed at how people respond and sing at concerts (secular or otherwise) in ways (and at volumes) they would NEVER use in church. But what’s happening in those instances of arm waving and screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs is not merely a result of being entertained but, rather, engaged.

    Similarly, God doesn’t just impress us with his beauty or entertain us with his miracles, he invites us into a relationship. All of the pagentry of liturgy is meant to be beautiful AS it points to the life-changing mystery and beauty of the gospel.

  131. Looks like I’m late getting in on this conversation…
    Nevertheless, while I do see and in fact support the value in redeeming certain terms from their negative connotations (ie. baggage), I think that this is a case in which there are definite distinctions to be made. More than just semantics.

    Personally, I prefer the term “engaging” rather than “entertaining” when speaking of what worship should be.

    The term/concept of entertainment (whether by definition or connotation) denotes passivity—for anyone other than the entertainer. In the process of being entertained, I am simply an observer whose attention has been captured.

    Engagement, on the other hand, indicates an actual connection or drawing in. Some forms of entertainment can be engaging—I’m often amazed at how people respond and sing at concerts (secular or otherwise) in ways (and at volumes) they would NEVER use in church. But what’s happening in those instances of arm waving and screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs is not merely a result of being entertained but, rather, engaged.

    Similarly, God doesn’t just impress us with his beauty or entertain us with his miracles, he invites us into a relationship. All of the pagentry of liturgy is meant to be beautiful AS it points to the life-changing mystery and beauty of the gospel.

  132. Looks like I’m late getting in on this conversation…
    Nevertheless, while I do see and in fact support the value in redeeming certain terms from their negative connotations (ie. baggage), I think that this is a case in which there are definite distinctions to be made. More than just semantics.

    Personally, I prefer the term “engaging” rather than “entertaining” when speaking of what worship should be.

    The term/concept of entertainment (whether by definition or connotation) denotes passivity—for anyone other than the entertainer. In the process of being entertained, I am simply an observer whose attention has been captured.

    Engagement, on the other hand, indicates an actual connection or drawing in. Some forms of entertainment can be engaging—I’m often amazed at how people respond and sing at concerts (secular or otherwise) in ways (and at volumes) they would NEVER use in church. But what’s happening in those instances of arm waving and screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs is not merely a result of being entertained but, rather, engaged.

    Similarly, God doesn’t just impress us with his beauty or entertain us with his miracles, he invites us into a relationship. All of the pagentry of liturgy is meant to be beautiful AS it points to the life-changing mystery and beauty of the gospel.

  133. Lorie,
    The fact is that everyone is a worshipper, it is just the object that is in question. Bruce Springsteen or Coldplay entertain and people worship. People worship their team–GO team!–and cheer and have fun while doing it. I think when we authentically turn our worship to God, we will react and should be culturally indigenous like Coldplay or our favorite sports team. There really is nothing “passive” about entertainment and being entertained. It simply is a tool, that like our favorite band engages us for a purpose. I am just arguing that it is NOT biblical to be so legalistic to not include entertainment techniques–communication skills, story telling and so forth–in worship services or worship leading.

    Engagement? Yes. But if you bore people you will NEVER get them to that level. Trust me. At least that is the language and culture we live in. It is a choice to either speak the language or force new believers to learn something else that is foreign to them.

    So, this is why semantics are important and crushing the Christian ghetto wall is important.

  134. Lorie,
    The fact is that everyone is a worshipper, it is just the object that is in question. Bruce Springsteen or Coldplay entertain and people worship. People worship their team–GO team!–and cheer and have fun while doing it. I think when we authentically turn our worship to God, we will react and should be culturally indigenous like Coldplay or our favorite sports team. There really is nothing “passive” about entertainment and being entertained. It simply is a tool, that like our favorite band engages us for a purpose. I am just arguing that it is NOT biblical to be so legalistic to not include entertainment techniques–communication skills, story telling and so forth–in worship services or worship leading.

    Engagement? Yes. But if you bore people you will NEVER get them to that level. Trust me. At least that is the language and culture we live in. It is a choice to either speak the language or force new believers to learn something else that is foreign to them.

    So, this is why semantics are important and crushing the Christian ghetto wall is important.

  135. Lorie,
    The fact is that everyone is a worshipper, it is just the object that is in question. Bruce Springsteen or Coldplay entertain and people worship. People worship their team–GO team!–and cheer and have fun while doing it. I think when we authentically turn our worship to God, we will react and should be culturally indigenous like Coldplay or our favorite sports team. There really is nothing “passive” about entertainment and being entertained. It simply is a tool, that like our favorite band engages us for a purpose. I am just arguing that it is NOT biblical to be so legalistic to not include entertainment techniques–communication skills, story telling and so forth–in worship services or worship leading.

    Engagement? Yes. But if you bore people you will NEVER get them to that level. Trust me. At least that is the language and culture we live in. It is a choice to either speak the language or force new believers to learn something else that is foreign to them.

    So, this is why semantics are important and crushing the Christian ghetto wall is important.

  136. Lorie,
    The fact is that everyone is a worshipper, it is just the object that is in question. Bruce Springsteen or Coldplay entertain and people worship. People worship their team–GO team!–and cheer and have fun while doing it. I think when we authentically turn our worship to God, we will react and should be culturally indigenous like Coldplay or our favorite sports team. There really is nothing “passive” about entertainment and being entertained. It simply is a tool, that like our favorite band engages us for a purpose. I am just arguing that it is NOT biblical to be so legalistic to not include entertainment techniques–communication skills, story telling and so forth–in worship services or worship leading.

    Engagement? Yes. But if you bore people you will NEVER get them to that level. Trust me. At least that is the language and culture we live in. It is a choice to either speak the language or force new believers to learn something else that is foreign to them.

    So, this is why semantics are important and crushing the Christian ghetto wall is important.

  137. You are absolutely right about the issue of worship. As the writer says, we are always worshipping SOMETHING (or someone)…
    I do believe that there could be a better choice of terminology for what you’re describing and aiming for than “entertainment.” It seems that “entertaining” is not the only option to describe the opposite of “boring.” And I do think this is a perfect case in point of when semantics can work against us. Perhaps there are too many connotations and too much room for misunderstanding, whereas a simple change in terminology could clarify your whole point.

    I have lobbied long and hard AGAINST an understanding of worship and corporate gatherings as modes of entertainment. Because that is not what they should be understood to be. People should not show up and expect to be “entertained” in the same way they are when they turn on the boob tube. But that is FAR from saying that I have or ever would advocate an uninteresting, unengaging, irrelevant, sterile, boring experience for those in our services.

    It seems that to continue to refer to this issue as one of “entertainment” hinders rather than helps the absolutely necessary discussion of your point that worship should be engaging and that communication in a corporate setting should be done well.

    Could it be that, rather than trying to get people to understand the importance of worship being entertaining, it could be most helpful to look at what it is in entertainment that works well (communication skills, story telling, etc.)? Those, in reality, are not entertainment techniques as much as they are good communication techniques, wouldn’t you say?

    Again, I think that the opposite of boring/dry/unengaging communication is not necessarily “entertaining” communication, but rather “skillful” communication.

  138. You are absolutely right about the issue of worship. As the writer says, we are always worshipping SOMETHING (or someone)…
    I do believe that there could be a better choice of terminology for what you’re describing and aiming for than “entertainment.” It seems that “entertaining” is not the only option to describe the opposite of “boring.” And I do think this is a perfect case in point of when semantics can work against us. Perhaps there are too many connotations and too much room for misunderstanding, whereas a simple change in terminology could clarify your whole point.

    I have lobbied long and hard AGAINST an understanding of worship and corporate gatherings as modes of entertainment. Because that is not what they should be understood to be. People should not show up and expect to be “entertained” in the same way they are when they turn on the boob tube. But that is FAR from saying that I have or ever would advocate an uninteresting, unengaging, irrelevant, sterile, boring experience for those in our services.

    It seems that to continue to refer to this issue as one of “entertainment” hinders rather than helps the absolutely necessary discussion of your point that worship should be engaging and that communication in a corporate setting should be done well.

    Could it be that, rather than trying to get people to understand the importance of worship being entertaining, it could be most helpful to look at what it is in entertainment that works well (communication skills, story telling, etc.)? Those, in reality, are not entertainment techniques as much as they are good communication techniques, wouldn’t you say?

    Again, I think that the opposite of boring/dry/unengaging communication is not necessarily “entertaining” communication, but rather “skillful” communication.

  139. You are absolutely right about the issue of worship. As the writer says, we are always worshipping SOMETHING (or someone)…
    I do believe that there could be a better choice of terminology for what you’re describing and aiming for than “entertainment.” It seems that “entertaining” is not the only option to describe the opposite of “boring.” And I do think this is a perfect case in point of when semantics can work against us. Perhaps there are too many connotations and too much room for misunderstanding, whereas a simple change in terminology could clarify your whole point.

    I have lobbied long and hard AGAINST an understanding of worship and corporate gatherings as modes of entertainment. Because that is not what they should be understood to be. People should not show up and expect to be “entertained” in the same way they are when they turn on the boob tube. But that is FAR from saying that I have or ever would advocate an uninteresting, unengaging, irrelevant, sterile, boring experience for those in our services.

    It seems that to continue to refer to this issue as one of “entertainment” hinders rather than helps the absolutely necessary discussion of your point that worship should be engaging and that communication in a corporate setting should be done well.

    Could it be that, rather than trying to get people to understand the importance of worship being entertaining, it could be most helpful to look at what it is in entertainment that works well (communication skills, story telling, etc.)? Those, in reality, are not entertainment techniques as much as they are good communication techniques, wouldn’t you say?

    Again, I think that the opposite of boring/dry/unengaging communication is not necessarily “entertaining” communication, but rather “skillful” communication.

  140. You are absolutely right about the issue of worship. As the writer says, we are always worshipping SOMETHING (or someone)…
    I do believe that there could be a better choice of terminology for what you’re describing and aiming for than “entertainment.” It seems that “entertaining” is not the only option to describe the opposite of “boring.” And I do think this is a perfect case in point of when semantics can work against us. Perhaps there are too many connotations and too much room for misunderstanding, whereas a simple change in terminology could clarify your whole point.

    I have lobbied long and hard AGAINST an understanding of worship and corporate gatherings as modes of entertainment. Because that is not what they should be understood to be. People should not show up and expect to be “entertained” in the same way they are when they turn on the boob tube. But that is FAR from saying that I have or ever would advocate an uninteresting, unengaging, irrelevant, sterile, boring experience for those in our services.

    It seems that to continue to refer to this issue as one of “entertainment” hinders rather than helps the absolutely necessary discussion of your point that worship should be engaging and that communication in a corporate setting should be done well.

    Could it be that, rather than trying to get people to understand the importance of worship being entertaining, it could be most helpful to look at what it is in entertainment that works well (communication skills, story telling, etc.)? Those, in reality, are not entertainment techniques as much as they are good communication techniques, wouldn’t you say?

    Again, I think that the opposite of boring/dry/unengaging communication is not necessarily “entertaining” communication, but rather “skillful” communication.

  141. Sorry Lorie, Just trying to call apples apples. And really, it is a myth to say worship is NOT entertainment. I am not saying worship IS entertainment and never have. However, the connotation of the myth statement is that it is a problem. People love to use that against worship leaders and worship teams. However, they would balk at it if you sang out of tune or would leave if they were bored. So, the challenge here is to simply understand the skills put into worship indeed should make worship entertaining rather than a yawn. That does not make it worship. But it is a myth to say the opposite.

  142. Sorry Lorie, Just trying to call apples apples. And really, it is a myth to say worship is NOT entertainment. I am not saying worship IS entertainment and never have. However, the connotation of the myth statement is that it is a problem. People love to use that against worship leaders and worship teams. However, they would balk at it if you sang out of tune or would leave if they were bored. So, the challenge here is to simply understand the skills put into worship indeed should make worship entertaining rather than a yawn. That does not make it worship. But it is a myth to say the opposite.

  143. Sorry Lorie, Just trying to call apples apples. And really, it is a myth to say worship is NOT entertainment. I am not saying worship IS entertainment and never have. However, the connotation of the myth statement is that it is a problem. People love to use that against worship leaders and worship teams. However, they would balk at it if you sang out of tune or would leave if they were bored. So, the challenge here is to simply understand the skills put into worship indeed should make worship entertaining rather than a yawn. That does not make it worship. But it is a myth to say the opposite.

  144. Sorry Lorie, Just trying to call apples apples. And really, it is a myth to say worship is NOT entertainment. I am not saying worship IS entertainment and never have. However, the connotation of the myth statement is that it is a problem. People love to use that against worship leaders and worship teams. However, they would balk at it if you sang out of tune or would leave if they were bored. So, the challenge here is to simply understand the skills put into worship indeed should make worship entertaining rather than a yawn. That does not make it worship. But it is a myth to say the opposite.

Leave a Reply