While some Missouri Synod leaders and congregations are moving in the direction of entertaining the audience in worship, leading American Evangelicals are now questioning these practices. Leadership Journal for Spring 2011 has a special issue criticizing entertainment in the church, with a lead article interviewing Chuck Swindoll. One article from the issue is available on the web, looking at entertainment in youth ministry, by the magazine’s editor Drew Dyck. The article may be found here.
Whether or not we accept Kinnaman’s definition of what constitutes a biblical worldview, few would argue that anywhere near 65 percent of young adults in the U.S. could be described as active followers of Jesus. We may have done a good job of getting young people to sign a pledge or mutter a prayer, but a poor job of forming them into devoted disciples.
Perhaps we’ve settled for entertaining rather than developing followers of Jesus.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with pizza and video games. The real problem is when they displace spiritual formation and teaching the Bible. And ultimately that’s the greatest danger of being overly reliant on an entertainment model. It’s not just that we can’t compete with the world’s amusements. It’s not only that we get locked into a cycle of serving up ever-increasing measures of fun. Rather it’s that we’re distracted from doing the real work of youth ministry—fostering robust faith.
Sounds pretty similar to what happened to Willow Creek back in 2007/8. Perhaps the current questioning of the “entertainment” model by Chuck Swindoll and Leadership Journal is a result of the original “shakeup” at Willow Creek in 2007 :