Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, recently criticized the amusement-driven church and encouraged Christians to participate in the Body of Christ for the purposes of discipleship and community — not entertainment.
In a sermon delivered May 12, Chandler shared how, shortly after he began his ministry at The Village Church, his congregation grew from several hundred to several thousand.
“My passion has not changed. I do not want to be a conference speaker. That is not what we’re doing,” he said.
“You and I are so overstimulated, you and I are so overwhelmed with fast-paced, energized entertainment that we have developed a real idealized sense of life with a real low pain tolerance. The Church herself no longer is about discipleship, no longer is about being shaped, no longer is it about being formed. It’s about being entertained in the gathering.”
While The Village Church continues to expand, the pastor emphasized that his plan is “not to ever develop an arena culture.”
An “arena culture” expects everything to be “put together when we arrive,” Chandler explained, adding: “This is family. This isn’t showing up with a swag bag under our chair and everything done for us. This is us serving one another that shows that our personal preferences are secondary to the manifold wisdom of God being made visible among us.”
“I’m not interested in it (arena culture),” he said. “I want to grow together and that doesn’t happen by preaching sermons. That happens when we’re on the ground together.”
“I want to reorient your mind around what it means to belong to a church,” he continued, gesturing to his congregation. “It’s not this. This is breathing in, being nourished, so that we can get back out and do the work of ministry.”
Citing Ephesians 3:7-10, Chandler declared, “You have been uniquely wired by God and gifted by the Holy Spirit.”