"Worship or Entertainment"

One of the issues confronting the church today is what constitutes worship, and how to differentiate between worship and entertainment. 

This is an issue, as pastor, I struggle with as I consider worship alternatives. I am very much a fan of traditional and contemporary worship in all its many forms. And I believe as a leader in the church I have the responsibility to explore different worship alternatives, realizing we all don't experience God in the same way.

But where and how do we draw the line between worship and entertainment? This is a question, which challenges many congregations and it's not an easy question to answer.

I do believe the issue of "worship versus entertainment" goes far beyond the more popular debate between traditional music and contemporary music. Type of music does not define whether a church service is worship or entertainment, although often times this is where the line is drawn. Worship transcends music. Therefore our task is to move beyond music to the more fundamental issue of worshipping God.

What is worship? Worship is a time of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and petition directed toward God through our actions and attitudes. Christian worship is Trinitarian in form as praise is offered to God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

To determine what is worship and what is entertainment I use four questions to guide my discernment process. I believe if these four questions are answered yes, we as a faith community are worshipping God regardless of the music and the other facets of our various worship services. They are:

  • Is the Word of God proclaimed?
  • Is there evidence of transformation taking place within those present?
  • Are gifts of the Spirit visible?
  • Are those present experiencing the presence of God?

Worship is a verb meaning it's something we as Christians are called to engage in on a regular basis. We are to worship our God, the creator of all things, giving thanks with a grateful heart for all that he has done and will do in our lives.

If you aren't currently active in a faith community I encourage you to visit any of the churches in the Emmitsburg area to find a place where you can worship God. Trinity United Methodist Church conducts Sunday worship services at 9:00 a.m. immediately followed by Sunday School at 10:15. Come join us, as our congregation strives to grow in faith to grow God's kingdom.

Read other homilies by Pastor Wade