Entertainment and Hospitality – Can These Values Co-Exist? (by Tiffany Malloy)
Today, I came across a post in Out of Ur about the clash between the church’s values of entertainment and hospitality. In the article, a church asked a family to leave their service on Easter Sunday because their 12-year-old son with cerebral palsy made a loud noise after the opening prayer. In the comments, a visitor to the church (in 2009) also was asked to remove their 2-year-old after she made a few loud noises after the singing was over. The church did this because the wanted to provide a distraction-free environment for the congregation to worship in.
I understand this to an extent. I get that it IS distracting when a baby is crying in the service. Or a kid is talking loudly. Or a teenager is laughing.
Then I think about how the disciples were mad when some little children were approaching Jesus- Get them away! Jesus got ticked and rebuked the disciples- Let them come to Me.
As we think about our church’s worship services, we MUST think through our values. Is it our value to entertain people? SHOULD we have the value of entertainment? What happens when we turn a worship service into a show? How is this value supported in Scripture? What values do we teach our congregants when we remove people who are not conforming to the right behavior?
And we also must ask- what is the option for this family with a 12-year-old son with cerebral palsy? The church has no special needs ministry, nor do they want one (or so it seems from the blog post), so the 12-year-old has no class to go to AND the 12-year-old is not welcome in the worship gathering. It seems like the only option is for them to be in a different part of the church, watching the church service. From my experience with small children in a similar situation, this makes the family not want to attend a worship service at all (and participation is out of the question).
I think some churches have some serious re-evaluating of policies to do. Let’s talk about it – what are your thoughts? Can entertainment and hospitality co-exist? Should they co-exist? What are some alternative practices to this situation?
Tiffany Malloy is a mom of three and a wife of one living in Wilmore, Kentucky where she is finishing up a degree at Asbury Theological Seminary and trying to live a kingdom-building life. Loving God. Loving Others. Loving Myself. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or her blog.