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Tonight I had a long road trip back to NY from visiting my best friend…my brother in Christ. One of the things I love about driving is listening to the word of God via one of my apps on my phone. (Cross Connect) I listened to Acts and began to realize even more, the differences of the CHURCH in the early church compared to today’s version of church. The gathering, the assembling and the prayer services were so different from what we are used to today. They really took care of one another and yes there were problems that occurred in those days as well; with man there will always be problems but the difference is very relevant. I myself as most of you know have been in the institutionalized church for pretty much my entire life. I got really deep into “churching” in my mid teens to my early 20’s.
Well the thing I noticed is how much todays version of church is pretty much a good show; concert like. We are told to go to a building, sit as in a concert like setting (more value in the seats closer to the stage) and watch the show until it is over. Know when to clap, know when to stand, know when to laugh, know when to leave. I remember when I was a praise team singer singing for about 3 – 4 hours entertaining the crowd until the leader made his way in the arena onto the stage (church building onto the pulpit) Sometimes we would continue to sing for hours after the leader came to have more fun. The people would cheer and clap after every song and some of them would worship Christ as we had to cheer them on to do so. They reacted the same way with the leader was preaching… cheering after every word the man spoke (I was guilty myself), but not often would you hear ONLY the preacher speaking showing that people were listening and gaining information. It basically sounded more like everyone already knew what the man was preaching being that they were YESSING and CHEERING after every sentence. Sometimes if they are too quiet they get enticed to cheer again, “I DON’T HEAR YOU SOMEBODY” or “WHERE YOU AT CHURCH” are some of the things a preacher would say when the audience appeared to be low on energy with their responses to what was being said.
Positioned on the stage every Sunday I was able to see all of the faces and often put on a more energetic performance when I saw faces weren’t so pleasant. We were often told during rehearsal to make sure we smile with passion and be energetic because we are leading the people into worship. I have sang background for unbelievers and during rehearsal they would say be passionate and energetic because the people are responding you. When the show was over the leaders would go back to their waiting rooms or sit in their beautifully crafted chairs, the praise team singers would walk off the stage and hear responses like, “YOU GUYS WERE GREAT” or “YOU GUYS REALLY BLESSED ME”. We would respond as humble as we could to make it not about us. The singers would often get offers from people waiting for us to leave the stage from people who wanted to be on the praise team, people who wanted contacts that had nice vocals, worked in studios, wanted information on the preacher or just people who like singing friends in their circle. I always ignored these similarities but the more I read the word of God, I’m able to realize that the Kingdom of God is supposed to be contrary to the ways of Mammon (the world); yet they appear to be so similar. The Church I read about in the “Book of Acts” absolutely looks contrary to the ways of Mammon. Every concert I have been to whether Christian or not had the same or very similar formulas.
The point is not that shows are bad… I enjoy a good show… I enjoyed going to “church” for the show when I was apart of it and when I just watched it, the problem is that the Church is not supposed to equate a show – its suppose to equate the Bride of Christ.
John 18: 36Jesus said, “My kingdom is NOT of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
Matt 6:24 “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Matt 23 (Jesus is talking to the crowd about the teachers and Pharisees which can correlate todays preachers and pastors) 6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’
“A Good Show is a Good Show” – Omar Carter