I Skipped Church Tonight

My family and I, instead, just got back from “Winter Jam” at Little Rock’s Barton Coliseum, an exuberant worship experience with New Song, Steven Curtis Chapman, Sanctus Real, Jeremy Camp, Hawk Nelson and about 8,000 of our closest friends.

I still have a bit of tinnitus going, so you’ll have to speak up in the comments!

But what a wonderful experience for my kids.

I think they need to see that worship can take place in many, many different contexts.

And for those of you who think we just went to a rock concert where the music was no different than any other and only the lyrics were religious and it was all just entertainment, you’d be partly right. Largely wrong, yet partly right.

I would much rather have my kids at a rock concert with Christian music than with a lot of other rot offered as entertainment. In fact, I’d rather be there with them. It was a performance – just as our corporate worship is intended to be a performance, with God as our audience. I got the sense that most of the headliners tonight understood that completely.

Oh, you might protest, but I’ll bet they took up a “love offering,” didn’t they?

Well, I don’t know how they could afford all those folks and that gargantuan sound-and-light setup at only $10 a pop and $5 for kids Laura’s age and under. I’m betting that co-sponsors like the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission and Temple University and ZAP! probably don’t cover the balance of costs for a concert that also features George W. Bush impersonator John Morgan who encourages audiences to impersonate Christ, a fire-breather called “Andre the Hollywood Cowboy,” performer Britt Nicole and evangelist Tony Nolan.

Ah, you might respond, then I’ll bet a lot of people were “saved” tonight, huh?

Well, a lot of people made a commitment to follow Christ. They’ll get more information about how to continue their walk later. They’ll be encouraged to read their Bibles, and “hook up” (their choice of words, not mine) with a church. I hope their walk includes a dip in baptismal waters later on, yes; I wouldn’t want them to miss out on that. I wouldn’t want them to miss out on a lot of other gifts God makes available to enrich our journey with Jesus – and it has to start somewhere, doesn’t it? I’m guessing that a lot of young people who went tonight to hear Hawk Nelson got a lot more than they bargained for and some may have begun an exciting journey in the right direction.

The apostle Paul may have phrased it best: becoming all things to all people so that some might be saved. (I can easily picture him singing rock-worship to win those whose worship language is rock.)

And if you’re one of those people who insists that baptism is the be-all and end-all of a saved life, then you’ve got far too narrow a vision of what “salvation” means. Salvation isn’t a single memorable moment in a baptistry and eternity in Disneyland. Salvation starts now; a life that yearns to be like – and grow closer to – Christ. A life of service, of selflessness, of sacrifice. A life of worship. “Getting saved” doesn’t mean that now you can relax.

It means that it’s time to go to work.

Since I have to do that tomorrow, I’m headed for bed now. With a ringing in my ears.

And my heart.

9 thoughts on “I Skipped Church Tonight

  1. The Chris Tomlin “concert” I attended recently was the most sincere worship and time of learning that I’ve been a part of in a long time. That’s Heaven for a lot of folks.

  2. I believe thou protest to much, why not just say I skipped church to go to a concert. If it were the “Rolling Stones” I don’t believe you would loose your place in heaven because of it.

  3. Keith, As always you’ve made a point well and I know there are many that read you that need to hear it.I think its great that you are teaching your kids that worship happens in lots of flavors.and I think I saw terri at that concert?/?

  4. HI KEITH!SINCE YOU POSTED THIS ON SUNDAY AND IT’S NOW TUESDAY, YOU CAN PROBABLY HEAR BETTER.So, I’ll speak a bit more quietly.Sounds like you had a great time. But, you really didn’t skip church. Did you? I mean, isn’t it amazing how I can see myself and the people in my church as the only people on earth who worship God and then I get into a situation where so many others, outside my tribe, outside my community show up at an event like what you describe. It’s truly awesome. And humbling, too.I took my kids to a Christian music festival in Muskegon a couple of years ago. My son wanted to meet Big Daddy Weave in the tent after their performance, so we waited in line for them to arrive at the autograph signing table. I noticed the band seemed tired, a bit out of sorts. Then I remembered that most of them lived in Florida and their homes, at the time, were threatened by an impending hurricane. Here they were, that night, in Muskegon, obediently performing their ministry. I grew to respect them as more than mere “entertainers.” I’ve prayed for them a lot since then.

  5. Sounds like a good time too me. Glad you experienced it. Seeing Jeremy Camp alone is worth the price of admission. Heck, the price of a soda at a sporting event is worth the price (literally) of the admission

  6. We saw the same concert in Tulsa. It was our kids first experience. SCC was great, I had never seen him live and his song Great Adventure really struck me when it was first released. I must confess to being a little sad with all the trinkets being sold, part of me wondered if this was what the temple looked like, while the Holt International table was empty but that is just my own personal struggle I suppose.Overall a great concert and wonderful experience. It was a good family event.

  7. I, too, was at the Tulsa concert. It was great! Sure, over 1000 “got saved” – whatever one believes about that terminology…the important point is that 1000’s of people heard a message about Christ’s love for them and their lives are now (hopefully) pointed in the right direction. I pray that their searching hearts will lead them to deeper and deeper truth and love for Jesus Christ.

  8. Thanks for sharing the concert with us. Whenever God is glorified, it is a good thing! I wonder if your kids know how blessed they are to have a dad like you?DU

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