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Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Ministries and worship pastor at Covenant Life Church has given some brief thoughts on Christmas productions. This post is in response to a question a friend of his sent him seen below.
I just found out that our church is charging for tickets to our Christmas event…music, drama etc. They want members to buy tickets to hand out for the event. I notice that lots of churches are doing this now. There’s a church in Florida that spends over a million dollars on their Christmas presentation, and charges up to $35 for their big Broadway production. What’s your take on this?
I have a dilemma…continue to work on the music (a lot of it being secular Christmas songs) for the upcoming Christmas extravaganza and feel uncomfortable, or bail out and let the ministers of the church know why I don’t want to be a part of a ministry that charges for ministry outreach events.
Kauflin gives some great insight…
The New Testament gives no indication that the church is responsible to put on lavish productions for the purpose of evangelism or edification. That’s because the church isn’t a production company. Performances, plays, and productions, despite the evident fruit at times, were never meant to be the main instrument of evangelism for the church. The main instrument is a body of believers who have been redeemed through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, and who have now been called to proclaim the excellencies of him who called them out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9). How do they do that? Primarily by preaching the gospel, by doing good, and by keeping their “conduct honorable, so that others may see their good deeds and glorify God when Christ returns” (Heb. 13:16 ; 1 Pet. 2:12 ). In other words, it’s more a matter of faithful living than lavish productions.
So when I hear of a church that spends a gazillion dollars on a Christmas presentation, with much of it being secular songs, it raises some questions. In our effort to be fruitful, rather than faithful, are we becoming so much like the world that people can’t tell the difference? I don’t presume to know what’s in anyone’s heart, but I know that investing that much money in a musical extravaganza eats up huge amounts of time, energy, and resources. Is this the best or primary way to proclaim the gospel and build the church? No. Some churches might see these as pre-evangelism events, to get people in the door so they can be invited to something where the gospel is presented more clearly. That’s certainly plausible, but we always have to evaluate their effectiveness and unintended consequences.
Dr. Russell Moore of Southern Seminary has given seven reasons why judgement houses win so few people to Christ. I listed all 7 reasons below but be sure to check out his explanations on each one here.
- They’re not scary enough.
- They assume people’s problem is that they do not know about judgment.
- They abstract judgment from the love of God.
- They abstract judgment from the glory of God.
- It’s hard to cry at a judgment house.
- The Holy Spirit usually doesn’t like to work that way.
- They’re easier to pull off than talking to people.
Okay this is oddly the second transformers reformers theme song that I’ve posted in the last couple of days. Happy Reformation Day! We have much to be thankful for! Praise God for Martin Luther…
If you prefer the reformation polka you can check this out.
**Update** There is also the Reformation Rap to add to the list.
Gene Veith has noted some of his favorite lyrics:
I warned y’all that Rome best agree to the terms.
If not, then you can eat my Diet of Worms!
You think you done something spectacular?
I wrote the Bible in the vernacular!
A heretic! [What?] Someone throw me a bone.
You forgot salvation comes through faith alone.. . .
“Oh snap, he’s messin’ with the holy communion.”
But I ain’t never dissed your precious hypostatic union!
“One place at one time.” Well, thank you Zwingli.
Yeah, way to disregard that whole “I’m God” thingy!
Getting’ all up in my rosary… you little punk.
Your momma shoulda told you not to mess with no monk.. . .
I’ve come back from obscurity to teach y’all a lesson,
Cuz someone here still ain’t read their Augsburg Confession.
I said Catholicism brings a life of excess,
And we all remember what went down with Philip of Hesse!
But you forgot about me and my demonstration?
Like you can just create your own denomination?
“We don’t like this part, so we’ll just add a little twist.”
Now we Anglican, Amish, and even Calvinist.
I gave you the power, you gone and abused it.
I gave you God’s truth, you just confused it.