Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Who Is Putting on the Best Show?

Easter has just passed and reminded me again of the shows that some churches put on, and the problems they cause. Christmas and Easter are times when churches put together special programs such as cantatas or concerts. They promote them as opportunities to bring visitors to church to hear the gospel. I actually have no problem with this. I think they can be great tools to invite people to church who are not familiar with church, or people who do not go to church anywhere.

Here is the problem: In a consumeristic society, churches have church members who will decide what church to go to based on what church is putting on the best show. They will skip attendance at their home church in order to go see a show at another church.

Pastors, if your church has Christmas or Easter programs, encourage your church members to invite only those who do not go to church somewhere else. Remind them that they need to minister to others by encouraging them to be at their local church, not at yours.

Christians, if your church puts on a special program, invite the unsaved to go with you. Don’t invite people from other churches. They need to be at their own church, even when they are family members.

Yes, I know … I am radical about local church priority.


Brian McCrorie said...

Is this a big problem in Michigan? We don't see much of this kind of problem in Denver. Why would it be so different from region to region?

Jason Janz said...

I personally am "anti-show" when it comes to Easter. If the Gospel and the resurrection makes a difference in our lives, why not "show" that rather than having Jesus hoisted by ropes through the skylight.

I tend to think that people on Easter are coming to church for the first time in a long time and it'd be refreshing for them to see us feeding the homeless rather than spending money on stage lights, costumes, and full-color mailers.

Just my thoughts.

Pearson said...

Hey Larry,
I agree fully with you. We try to be vigilant about telling our people our special services and events are for the purpose of their furthering their relational evangelistic contacts with unchurched or un-gospel-preaching pseudo-churched people almost to the point of being rude. I have said, "this is not an event for people from other good churches in the area." If a person from your church or another church attends and we know, we do not follow up with them at all. Next time someone from Grace visits here, I will slip a copy of this in their welcome folder :-).

Sam said...

Bro. Larry,
what if these ones are attending an emergent church, or the like in the area? We have a family whose children are attending a rather large EC church near us, and their comment is: "well, at least they're going to church." I nod my head, and agree, because they were going nowhere before. We had no "program" for Easter--some prepared music, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Should they have invited their children to our church? I'm curious...

Jon Bell said...


Maybe the real problem is that we are not really teaching people about the true purpose of our church gatherings. Here in the Bible Belt the least worry is someone going elsewhere for one service; they might not ever come back if they see something they like better!
I just wonder if people have the view of the Body of Christ that Paul lays out in 1 Cor 12. It is hard to function when body parts are always taking off!