The Shepherd Becomes a Showman

Skye Jethani notes that there is a somewhat outspoken encouragement for church leaders to “embrace entertainment.” Apparently the the thought is that this approach will open doors that will ultimately lead to life transformation. Jethani takes issue with this in his current book.

“These pastors, representative of so many contemporary Christians, believe that God changes lives through the commoditization and consumption of experiences. If our worship gatherings are energetic, stimulating, and exciting enough then people will attend, receive what’s being communicated, and be spiritually transformed. The justification for this approach is simple – people won’t come to a church that’s boring. And what qualifies as boring is defined by our consumer/experience economy. … In Consumer Christianity, the shepherd becomes a showman.” – The Divine Commodity, p. 75.

This book, surprisingly published by Zondervan, clearly articulates a significant weakness in many American churches. The complaint about the consumerization of the church is not new (e.g., John MacArthur made that point years ago); but Jethani’s approach is creative and compelling. Using paintings by Vincent Van Gogh he provokes some deep thinking.

I’ve been thinking of posting several of Jethani’s insights, but realized that his argument is best served by reading it whole. You even get a meaningful and surprising lesson in Art! His thoughts on the Lord’s Table (communion) are insightful; his challenge about seeking a place to be comfortable are convicting.


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