Having clean entertainment made by dedicated Christians is a good thing. But when we turn God’s church into an entertainment venue, we’ve lost the point.
You might think the photo at the top of this page is a joke. It’s not. It’s an actual church postcard on outreach.com, a website for churches to buy advertisements and evangelistic tools like banners and brochures. It’s very representative of the kind of attitude that is permeating the church today. An attitude that we can substitute everyday fun for worship, put God’s name on it, and that makes it okay.
Those of you who are interested in politics may remember Rick Santorum as the Republican presidential candidate from 2012 who lost in the primary to Mitt Romney. Since then, Santorum is no longer in politics. He is, however, in entertainment. His film company, EchoLight Studios, intends to release four films a year, including a re-release of the film adaptation of Max Lucado’s The Christmas Candle. The twist? They plan to release movies in churches, not theaters.
The company explained its decision by saying it wants to “fuel the missional needs of the hosting local church,” as well as to “empower the church to bring in people to see films.”
Hold on a second. I thought the purpose of the church was to serve God, not to have a movie night.
This is the culmination of a problem that has plagued Christianity for the past several years. We have Christians making movies, music, and books, but it doesn’t stop there. Instead of making the media an expression of Christianity, the media becomes the main point. We start thinking that we can’t do God’s work apart from the media, and even worse, start acting like the media and God’s work are one and the same. At the end of the day, we’ve reduced God to another segment of pop culture.
Here’s the bottom line: Christian media serves a good purpose. It helps us to, as Phil. 4:8 tells us, focus on good things. But that should never be confused with the gospel.
“Oh, but these films are just another way of sharing the gospel!”
Really? Is that so? Then explain this quote:
“Our vision is not to create sermons wrapped in a movie but to create content that inspires, fascinates and incorporates a strong Christian worldview.”
It’s not about the gospel. It’s about entertainment. Clean entertainment, and entertainment with a good message, but entertainment nonetheless. What else does “inspires” and “fascinates” mean? They are a film studio, not a missionary organization.
So before you flock to these churches to watch these movies, ushering in a new age of Christianity, ask yourself what the point is. Where is God in all of this? Is He the focus? Are we coming to worship Him? Or are we slapping his name onto a nice, clean movie for the sake of making ourselves feel better about neglecting Christianity for the sake of entertainment?
Let’s not reduce God to another facet of pop culture. Let’s keep entertainment where it belongs, and worship where it belongs. Let’s worship God. Not entertainment.