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My youth Class is creating a track, that revolves around the title of Worship Vs Entertainment. our first question is, do you think that the sermon for worship, should be entertaining? I hope that you can anwser this, along with bibical references if possible. Thanks, - Lukas

Just so we know what we are talking about, let's define terms.

There are four definitions for "entertainment" in Webster's Dictionary. One of them is, "A source or means of amusement; a diverting performance, especially a public performance, as a concert, drama, or the like." Defined in this way, entertainment is focused on self. It is designed to amuse.

On the other hand, worship is, "The act of feeling adoration or homage," according to Webster's Dictionary. When we come to scripture, worship sometimes refers to a life of service (Rom 12:2). Sometimes worship refers specifically to an act of worship (Psalm 2:12). I would recommend getting a concordance that uses Greek and Hebrew, and look up the words for worship and how they are used.

In order to understand worship, you cannot limit yourself to the New Testament. There is much more about worship in the Old Testament and it is very instructive. From the instructions concerning offerings to the tabernacle, to the Psalms, to the stories of worship and the prophets, there is much to learn about worship and what God desires in worship. If you want a biblical definition of worship, you need to take a broad sweep of scripture to understand what worship is and is not.

Looking at the broad sweep of scripture, you will find that biblical worship is God centered. It is not entertainment. It is not self-centered. However, this does not mean that worship is to be drudgery. To the contrary, worship is to be uplifting. In giving instructions concerning worship, Paul said that all things must be done for edification in 1 Corinthians 14. Edification means, "to build up." In order for that to happen, the focus cannot be on our wants or our desires. It has to be on God and what he wants and desires. Part of that is consideration for each other. Paul applies this principle in both 1 Corinthians 14 and in 1 Corinthians 11 when he discusses the Lord's Supper. Having consideration for one another honors God.

Your question also asked specifically about the sermon. Should it be entertaining? 1 Corinthians 14 instructs us to edify in worship. Whether it be the sharing of a Psalm or a message, it should be edifying. That is not the same thing as entertainment. Entertainment is self-centered. It is about what I can get from it. Worship is about giving. It is about what I give to God. It is about how I build up others.

If the sermon is a dud, it may be that it didn't connect God's truth with our lives well. Information for information's sake will have a tendency to be boring. It doesn't build up very well. When you take the information and show how it impacts our lives, how it challenges us, how it calls for change in our lives, then it will move us.

However, the sermon could be a dud simply because a person's heart is self-centered rather that God centered. If someone has a real issue with worship services being duds, maybe the problem is more with the worshipper rather than the worship service. Consider this illustration. If you eat well all week, and have a less that desirable Sunday dinner, you won't starve. But if you eat nearly nothing all week, not having a sumptuous Sunday dinner will cause great distress. You will feel a greater sense of disappointment. In the same way, if your life is fed by God daily in study, devotion, prayer, and worship, then attending a less than excellent worship service will not cause you to starve. God will have already been nourishing you as you walk with him.

John Telgren
P.O. Box 452
Leavenworth, KS 66048
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