I can't tell you how many times I have heard those involved in worship in previous church's use terms like production or performance when speaking of worship services. I would agree with them that what was being done was indeed a production or performance based on where the focus was (lighting, graphics, mood, ambience). These things in and of themselves aren't bad but I am growing more concerned that the Hollywood production values are becoming so woven into the fabric of worship that it is all about the 'experience' and 'feeling' we get while worshipping rather than it being completely about worshipping and honoring God.
I live around many large churches and they all have one thing in common, very large, very expensive worship services consisting of a staff of 50 just to run lighting, audio, video and 'production' of the 'show'. It really feels like a television studio in these rooms and not a church service. Is the Holy Spirit still present in these services? I believe so, but what I am most concerned for are those that are 'caught up' in the experience of the 'concert every sunday' kind of mindset and that the Jesus they think they are worshipping is not the one of Scripture. They would be bored if Jesus just stood at the front of the crowd and told the parables or gave the Sermon on the Mount without thousands of dollars of eye-catching graphics and stirring music scores behind him. I walked away from a church a few years ago because of just this issue. After speaking with those in the highest leadership of the church concerning the inappropriateness of the focus of our worship on the worship leader and not on Christ. There were 5 cameras in the room all manned and we sat in a room with massive plasma screens and $100,000 worth of other assorted equipment. This groundswell of 'technicalizing' the services happened so fast that I really didn't see it coming until I was waist-deep and feeling ashamed at how I had participated in robbing God of His glory. I was told that the generation that is most important are the teens and twenties and they are watching shows like 24 and others where the cameras constantly change angles you are expected to only have a 2 minute attention span. Is that really what we're after? To 'wow' people into a relationship with Jesus? Should we not expect for His death on the cross be sufficient?
What are your thoughts?
Your brother in Christ,