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.