A magazine came in the mail last week at church. Every day we get all kinds of fliers and special “one time” offers and free publications in the mailbox.
This one caught my eye. And made me cringe.
When did church become a production?
Why does the church need “Chroma-Q Color One 100x colored spotlights to reach NEW heights of performance”? Do smoke machines really “enhance the worship experience”? Is it necessary to have Xpression Live CG graphics in order to “elevate a sermon”?
Why does my heart ache as I thumb through the pages of this magazine?
I admit, planning an Easter worship service tends to make pastors and worship leaders think they have to pull out all the stops. Resurrection Sunday is supposed to be the biggest, best, loudest celebration of the year, right? We want to create an amazing worship experience so all those people come back again sometime before Christmas. The pressure is on to give parishioners goose-bumpy moments and to, well, produce.
Then I got my own goose-bumpy moment.
The first Easter morning wasn’t a production. In fact, it was pretty quiet. A few women in a graveyard, an empty tomb and — Surprise! — Jesus showed up alive! There was no angel choir, no smoke or spotlights, no graphics in the sky.
Easter is not about putting on a good show for a sanctuary full of people. The church full of people IS the production. We have an audience of One. Each person in the pew is part of the praise team, part of the message, part of the celebration.
In Jesus’ final words to His disciples He said the way to produce is to abide.
Apart from Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5)
No matter how spectacular the music, the message, and the meal,
on Easter the spotlight belongs on Jesus alone.