Got this anonymous comment on a post yesterday:
This is worthless. It absolutely does nothing to point to the truth of the text–just a big ol’ cutesy distraction. I wouldn’t care, but it is the epitome of entertainment worship that causes people to be wary of true creativity in the church. If you have any respect for church creativity and the reputation of your site, you need to remove it, or use it as a teachable “what not to do” moment.
This was on my Everything Marious video I posted a few months back. Normally I don’t worry too much with anonymous comments. (Unless they are positive…then I assume an angel wrote it to validate what I’m doing.) But this comment brought up something I think would be great for us to discuss on this site.
Obviously the comment was speaking negatively about using an entertaining Mario Brothers themed video during a worship song. I’m a firm believer that it is not the church’s job to be a vehicle for entertainment. I also believe that a musical worship service is an extremely valid and wonderful way to express our hearts to God and have Him respond to us. I don’t believe the music time is an “ice breaker” for the message or an opportunity for the late-comers to slip in without embarrassment.
However I also don’t believe songs we sing are “sacred”. They are pieces of art…they are not Scripture. They are tools based in Scripture (ideally) that we use to point people’s hearts toward God. A tool is only as powerful as your use of it. Coroplast was never intended to be used as a stage design tool, but, wow, it works well!
Most of the people who enter your church for a service have not been preparing their hearts all week to worship God. (This often includes the worship team. :)) Their minds are on the annoying co-worker they dread seeing tomorrow. On their frustration from searching for the kids’ shoes and hustling them out to the car. On the guy from the “other church” who cut them off in traffic.
Unfortunately these distractions create walls that keep them from engaging with the service. It often takes them 2 or 3 songs to begin to focus on the service (if they ever do). A worship leader’s job is to meet the congregation where they are, and take them to a place of focus on God. (This looks different for each church.) And the worship leaders in a worship service are not just on the stage. They are also the sound guys, the stage designers, the lighting/video folks…they are all working in conjunction to remove distractions to help the congregation focus on God.
So back to the video. On that note, isn’t the Mario Brothers video a huge distraction from worship? If the “Everything Glorious” song was used as a tool for “traditional worship”, yes. But that wasn’t the goal this time. Just like a pastor will use a joke before his message to break the ice and help people focus, this video was intended to remove distractions. Would I be willing to take 5 minutes of a 25 minute worship set to shift people’s focus from their frustrations and worries? To make them laugh–have a bit of fun, in order to help remind them that they are at church and they came for a purpose?
Obviously this video was used at the start of the service…not right after a gut-wrenching, tear-drenched ballad of Brooke Fraser’s “Hosanna”. Obviously we only used it once or twice (it would get lame if you used this video every time we did the song). Obviously we let all the chuckles out and brought people’s attention to worship after the fun. The two times we used this video, I noticed a level of engagement in the services that pleasantly surprised me.
So I apologize for this lengthy post in a site filled with short-and-sweeties. I’d like to hear your opinion. What do you think? I’m willing to change my mind if you bribe me enough. But please let’s keep this discussion civil and loving. :)
“In Essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love.” – Augustine