Being a part of churches for years, I have seen so many situations where the environment is completely constructed for a purpose. Kind of like a concert . You walk into a concert and the lights are low to create focus on the stage. The lights on the stage are brilliantly pointing out the stars that will be performing and through the experience, you become memorized by the latest fad in music. Concerts do this on purpose; to entertain and get you to an emotional place that you check out of reality and lose yourself in the moment. This is why we buy music, because it moved us into a place that we would not be unless we heard and experienced it. Are churches really any different? I would say “not really”.
Jesus told us to not conform to this world, but I think that the idea of conform has become more and more vague in the eyes of the church system. I’m not saying music is bad or that concerts are bad. I love music and I love concerts. I’m just throwing out there the thought that the church system has transformed worship into a concert. And I believe it has happened because of the influence it has over a person when they are in the moment. Why do you think that a mega-church puts a half-million dollars in a sound system and lights? They pay to have the room tuned and on caliber of a concert hall. They want the best possible experience as money can buy. Experience demands response. Is it worth the money? Should the money be spent like this? Does it look like conforming to the world?
When manipulation disguises itself as perfection, then these kind of big dollars are spent to create an artificial atmosphere. “We need the best for God”, is the attitude of the leaders. Why, because an artificial atmosphere gets people to respond the way the religious leaders need. Tithing increases, building budgets are met, programs are paid for and popularity grows.There are good things that come out of these churches, but I’m asking about the desire of the heart that drives the artificial atmosphere. I have seen it over and over again. Not to mention, what does it instill in us when we see this and it becomes engrained in us to behave like this?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could worship God in a way that doesn’t highlight people, buildings, pastors, or worship leaders? That sounds impossible in our culture, I know. However, Jesus did say to not conform to this world and we need to ask ourselves if we are conforming to the worldly system to attract people into churches. Don’t we all desire an atmosphere that isn’t created? Don’t we all want to be in a community where the religious leaders are not making decisions to garner a response out of its clients? Wouldn’t be nice if we turned the seats at churches towards each other instead of at the stage and started worshiping God by loving our neighbor next to us? Hey, there’s an idea….love another as a pure act of worship. Hmmmm…..I have heard that somewhere before.