Ministry or Performance? Pt. 2

     In our last discussion, we learned from Webster's Dictionary that the word performance refers to a public presentation, and also explored some of the controversy surrounding the use of that word in the Worship Arts Community. Performance has often been confused with entertainment, which is to amuse, or divert. Worship Artists always present an aspect of God's Word to their audience through their art-form, which transcends entertainment So, the goal of a worship artist is never to entertain, but to leave something of God with the audience when they perform, which is equivalent to ministry. Let's look further at some of the roots of this misunderstanding.
     The article entitled The Prejudice Against Theatre by Debra Bruch, Ph.D., states that many of the beliefs that Christians have about arts in the church came from theatre practices during the Roman Empire. At that time, theatre was used to persecute Christians and even massacre them in horrendous ways, which was very entertaining to the Romans who would commit all kinds of indecent acts while watching the Christians being tortured. Entertainment was not just a simple diversion to them, but a means of genocide. Because of this, the early Church leaders discouraged Christians from attending the theatre, and actors who did not leave acting were not allowed to take communion, and could not be buried on church grounds. During the Reformation, actors and dancers continued to be looked down upon among the lowest class members of society. Since Christians historically associated entertainment with death and destruction, it is easy to understand why any reference to it would be rejected. But God's Word commands us: "Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do, and whatever else you do, develop good judgment" (Proverbs 4:7). It is too easy to believe and repeat what we hear others say, without knowing why we are saying it, or where the saying comes from. Words can take on different meanings over time, but can still hinder or harm others who have been uniquely gifted by God. Let's think before we speak, and not put others in bondage regardless of what words we use to describe what they do.

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