entertainment vs. event-ment

4 04 2007

i was in a contemplative state of mind this morning (really, that’s code for sleepy!) and was thinking about the blogs that I track. many of them are church planters and they’re getting it done! i love the passion, the creativity, the zeal and the vision these guys exude. their sermon series, their methods of ministry, their communication all stick with the message, but in a fresh way. then something struck me…(after my first cup of coffee)…

i’ve seen it said on various blogs that the opposite of entertainment is boredom…and, i’ve bought that statement. in fact, i, for the most part, agree with it. i’d rather you NOT be bored as i minister, as i lead, as i teach or as i preach. i want you to be engaged…i want US to be engaged. so, i decided to do a quick look up of the word ‘entertainment’ – this is what i found...”noun – an activity that is diverting and that holds the attention.” hmmm, well, that’s what i want to happen – as i communicate the powerful message of the gospel, i want to be able to hold the attention of people…but, what if?

what if, with all of the focus on what we call ‘seeker’ we’ve really created nothing more than an event to go to? we’ve packaged church services so that they are entertaining (yes, they hold attention, which we want), but also they’ve become what i call ‘event-ment’ – whereby people only attend because of the event? is this wrong? is it so bad to go to church because, “you never know what’s going to happen” (which is true for most of life)? is it wrong for peole to view church as an event? what is our theology of ‘church’ becoming when we reduce it to an event in people’s PDA’s?

what if my trip to the georgia dome on monday night was viewed as only an event? how sad! here’s why…because frankly as good and fun as the game was, the conversation and friendship and fellowship (nice, churchy word) was far greater. what if in 3 years i only remember the game (an event) and forget the surrounding ‘process‘ of the game (finding our way to MARTA, getting stuck underground on MARTA, having really meaningful conversation with a great friend…that’s the process i’m talking about)?

i’m certainly not against the other churches that are growing at a phenomenal pace…i’m not about to slam any of the bloggers or churches that i follow – these guys are getting it done, i love them, i love what God is doing through them – i’ll continue to read and follow closely what God’s doing in their lives and churches. i’ll continue to grow and learn as a leader because of what they are doing.

here’s my concern…are we hiding our creativity and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking behind the cloak of ‘entertainment’ yet at the same time creating an atmosphere where church is only an event – much like a trip to s’bux or target? have we called it entertainment when in reality it’s just event-ment? would love to hear what you think…

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