We enjoy attending live events — concerts, musicals, sporting events, etc. While we enjoy community theater and high school football, we are fortunate to live in the greater Los Angeles area where we also experience world-class entertainment. We have been to many events at stadiums, arenas, and concert halls in our area. When we leave, one of my recurring thoughts is “Why are churches trying to replicate these events? We are wasting our time (and energy and money) doing so. We need to learn the discipline of doing what only we can do and doing it well.”
Except for a few very large churches with corresponding financial resources, most churches cannot compete with the show put on by top entertainment producers. Mid-size and certainly smaller churches cannot replicate what people experience at entertainment venues and even larger churches. As a result, some of them have a programming inferiority complex that convinces them they are out-of-date and out-of-step with what it takes to provide meaningful ministry to people today.
That’s simply not true.
Advantages churches do have
We actually have two incredible advantages in meeting the needs of people — needs much more profound than temporary, titillating entertainment.
In two words, churches have content and community.
Our content is the gospel.
We have good news which satisfies the deepest longings, cures the greatest ills, and offers true hope for hurting people.
We have good news that God loves us, Jesus died for us, and salvation is available to anyone who repents and believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
We have content no message from any contemporary entertainer or athlete can supersede.
Our community provides need-meeting, support-giving, human connections facilitated by and available to every person who participates in a local church.
Filling holes in times of trouble
Particularly when trouble comes — like sickness, death, job loss, or familial breakdown — fellow church members rally to the cause of caring for other members. Our family has received (and given) this kind of support for decades. It is a support network no fan base or booster club comes close to replicating.
We enjoy secular entertainment. We enjoy living in a place that does it with excellence. But we enjoy church services and church relationships much more.
We don’t need a show on Sunday.
We have the gospel to celebrate. We don’t need the energy of an anonymous crowd to sustain us. We have Christian friends.
No matter how small or plain or simple your church may be, never forget you have two great assets. You have content and community.
Make the most of those and watch God energize your work for His glory!
EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was written by Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary, and originally published by The Gateway blog.