Is your church entertaining?
If you answered yes, I’m guessing you have received your fair share of criticism. Not from the unchurched, nonbelievers in your community mind you, but from Christians and other churches. For some reason, many Christians and church leaders have bought into the belief that religion must be boring. That church can’t be fun. I guess we’ve associated boring to reverent. Hyper-serious to “spiritual.” Enjoyment has become a line in the religious sand. If you have fun in a religious service, it’s not really religious, and God can’t be pleased, right?
I partially understand. As Christians, we take God seriously. We take His church seriously. Most things we take seriously come with a certain level of seriousness (nobody wrote that down, I’m guessing). It makes sense.
But boring is not biblical. It’s not a matter of truth. It’s just how we’ve positioned ourselves as the church. It’s how we’ve positioned religion.
Here’s my question: Can a church be entertaining without becoming entertainment? There is a difference. Entertainment serves one point: Enjoyment. But entertaining is different. Entertaining is enjoyment with purpose. Enjoyment with a strategy.
If we want to engage the unchurched in our church, we should learn to entertain without becoming entertainment. If we hope to keep people excited and involved in our churches, we should consider adding a little fun. Here are a few ways we entertain at Watermarke:
1. Have fun, but have a point.
It is possible to take God seriously and ourselves not so seriously. I love leading a fun church. Our music is fun. We laugh throughout sermons. We have been known to replicate game shows to begin our services. Having fun is entertaining, but when there is a purpose, it stays clear of becoming entertainment.
What’s the point, you ask? Breaking down barriers. I know God can reach any heart, but the job becomes much easier and more successful when a heart is open. When it comes to a person’s heart, fun can open up what might have walked in closed.
2. Entertainment doesn’t produce life change.
Application is the goal. An entertaining movie or television program is entertainment. It’s purpose isn’t life application or lasting change (except for the movie Top Gun, which birthed a generation of want-to-be F-16 pilots). An entertaining sermon, however, presents truth and application in a more memorable, engaging way. People naturally lean into entertaining, which is why we should leverage it in church.
3. Jesus was funny.
I believe Jesus has a sense of humor, and if He is the head of the church, then it’s probably okay to have fun and laugh in His church. There are several moments in the Gospels where we are led to believe Jesus had fun, laughed, and even embraced sarcasm (see John 1, the calling of Nathaniel). At one point he referenced having a “plank in the eye.” That’s kind of funny!
Here is more proof. Just look at people. They are funny (most are even funny looking!). If Jesus was fully man, then he was fully funny. Therefore, I think our churches should reflect Jesus – all aspects of Jesus!
It wouldn’t surprise me to arrive in heaven and see Jesus telling jokes. “Did you hear the one about my Dad, the priest, and the Rabbi?” Okay, that might be a little too far, but it wouldn’t surprise me!
My point is simply this: I’m not sure why we believe church must be devoid of humor and fun. If you agree, that’s worth tweeting.
Just because it’s entertaining doesn’t mean is unbliblical, lacking in truth, or godless. We could even argue removing laughter from the church is both a poor strategy AND misrepresents Jesus.
One more thought. When we begin seeing the church more as an expression of our relationship with God over a religious experience, our perspective on the church and it’s services shifts.
What say you? Certainly we can’t all agree. Do you believe there is a difference between entertainment and entertaining? Can a church service be too much fun? How would adding humor in you church impact the way you reach the unchurched? Or keep people engaged? I’d love to know in the comments below.