Is Entertainment Replacing Sound Bible Teaching?

  Is the word of God losing ground to the ministry of entertainment?
(Agape Press) - If you entertain them, they will come. That is a philosophy being adopted by many churches today who contend it is an effective way to draw a crowd to hear the gospel.

Assist News reports on a recent church crusade in California, which featured fireworks, a classic car and hot rod show, as well as Harley Davidson and skateboard exhibitions. The senior pastor of the church said the event showed people can have fun and still hear the gospel.

Still, some say the emphasis on church-based entertainment may have gone too far. They point to studies done by organizations like Barna Research, which suggest that while entertainment is on the rise, knowledge of Bible doctrine has slipped dramatically.

For example, a Barna survey of young people done last fall, most of whom described themselves as Christians, found 60% believed that salvation can be earned through good deeds. Fifty-three percent said Jesus sinned while He was here on earth, and two-thirds felt Satan is not real but merely a symbol of evil.

The Christian Herald reports a Baptist church in Toronto regularly uses all night dance parties, or raves, for "evangelism." The Herald quotes Willowdale Baptist Church youth pastor Bill Abbott, who says, "It is the burden of our church to make this an outreach."

Abbott works with Unified Soul, a group that throws dance parties at community centers, churches and even clubs. Pastor Abbott says Willowdale Baptist often hosts these dance parties, noting that a group of seniors even meet during the event to pray for them.

Shana Gray of StreetBeatz Magazine tells the Herald, "I really believe that as a Christian we need to get involved in every level of society and entertainment." According to Gray, whose magazine tracks Christians on the dance scene, "The world took dance music. Christians want to take it back and it use it for Jesus."

Contemporary Christian singer Michael W. Smith has taken a similar approach to teen outreach. Smith owns Rocketown, a "teen dance club-outreach haven" in Franklin, Tennessee. Smith tells CCM Magazine, "If Jesus were here today physically, I'm not really sure He'd be in the churches. He'd be hanging out at the bars, with the desperate and lonely. And I don't think He'd be going in and preaching - I think He'd be going in and befriending people."

Chris Laurent is director of development for Rocketown. "The club, the music, that's all the bait," Laurent believes. "That's what gets them in the door the first time. But what keeps them coming back is the relationship that they build with the staff members.

The responsibility to share the Gospel of Jesus belongs to the staff members. The results can change our culture but recent polls confirm that it just hasn't happened yet.