The Difference Between Creativity & Entertainment In The Postmodern Church
I’m a movie and music junkie. There are very few things that help me relax more than going to a movie after a long week, kicking back with a Cherry Coke, and eating some butter-drenched popcorn. Entertainment can be good for the soul, especially when it is tired and weary. We all need to have our imaginations awakened when we are exhausted.
As someone who loves entertainment, I have found it quite easy to judge which community of faith I join based on how much I “like” it. It’s hard to look for more than entertainment in anything we do, including church. Whether you are an old-time religion or a postmodern churchgoer, we all gravitate towards our favorite styles. You know what? There’s nothing wrong with that if the ultimate purpose and goal is to know Christ and to make Him known. Yet, what if that’s really not our motivation?
Creativity is different than entertainment. Someone can be creative in how they serve the homeless and the poor. Creativity finds new ways to reach the rejects and rebels who want nothing to do with religion. No one may be watching these acts of creativity, but that takes a relevant approach and a creative heart. Creativity calls the church to serve, to love, and to meet their communities where they are, not where the church wants them to be. Big difference.
The postmodern church of Jesus Christ should be the most creative force on the planet! We should be inventing new methods of reaching the world with the truth of the Gospel. We should be meeting people in their own environments, which will often require us to be creative in our approach. We should be creating art that reflects the eternal yearnings within our souls for the eternal God.
“Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought forms of that setting.” – Francis Schaeffer
Creative communities of faith are driven by a heart for excellent, sharing hope with the world in new ways, and bringing honor to God through beauty. Creativity calls us to leave our place of safety and to engage the world with a message that never changes in their language. Creativity calls us to choose others over ourselves, meeting them in a context of their own, not in an environment that makes us cozy.
Entertainment communities of faith are driven by celebrity pastors, speaking words that are easy on the ears, and overly consumed with a gospel of “God will bless you”, rather than the gospel that asks us to pick up our cross and die to our own desires…
The cross is the most creative act in all of human history. God takes humanity’s greatest device of torture and brings the world life and hope through that very same device.
“The Christian should be the person who is alive, whose imagination absolutely boils, which moves, which produces something a bit different from God’s world because God made us to be creative.” – Francis Schaeffer
Can pastors of authentic, creative churches be popular and still be focused on Christ? Yes. However, when the church crumbles upon that pastor leaving, there is a problem…The church was never built on them. I grew up in the church and I’ve seen this happen multiple times. The pastor leaves and so does the congregation. The entertainer has left the building. I have a hard time believing that those people were following Jesus on Sunday morning…A pastor is not called to entertain, but rather to share the hope found in the eternal Father.
Can we love the music and environment of the church? Absolutely! However, is it just about having our emotions coddled, or is it about a place where we get brutally honest about our need for Jesus?
Black and white answers about your church probably don’t exist. In fact, you may be going to a great community of faith that is build on Jesus, but it may be your heart that is in the wrong place. Instead of pointing fingers at individual pastors and churches, what I’m challenging you to do is to reflect on your own motivations within your heart.
I have hopes to see a church movement that continues to evolve, creating new ways of sharing the Gospel and invading their surrounding communities. My hope is that you have this desire, as well.