In a Church Production, We Should Always Answer the “Why”


I attended a church production featuring great acting and singing talent supported by a strong team. It always make me happy when churches find, cultivate and deploy talented people for artistic productions. Where else would art and creativity come from but from the heart and mind of God? What troubled me about my experience wasn’t the quality of the experience, but the lack of strategic intent. At the end of the thing, I was left not knowing how to respond. Besides showing my appreciation for the talent and hard work through my applause, I walked away not being able to answer the “why” question. That was a miss opportunity of a weekend service to create impact. Next time your creative team decides on a video, play, reading or any artistic element within your service, you should ask these questions.

Church production gone bad

What do we want to accomplish?

What’s our ultimate goal?

How do we measure success?

Does the potential impact justify the amount of resources both financially as well as human?

I’m always saying to my team “just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we should.” That certainly applies to a lot of ideas within churches and ministries as well. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take risks and try something bold or controversial because you think its impact might be worth it. No one accomplishes anything great without taking risks.  I get that.

But they must be strategic risks with clearly defined rewards; otherwise, you can execute perfectly but fail to advance the cause. While saying “that was cool” might work for a matinee, the gospel has a lot more to offer than that.

When was the last time you sat through a performance or video that you couldn’t articulate its reason for existing?

  • I don’t know what kind of production this was, but I think that sometime it is beneficial just to showcase the gifts that God gives us. It is another form of praise. nnSometimes church productions can be a great, low pressure opportunity to bring in guests that have never been there before. They get to experience a side of our faith that they might not ordinarily see or know exists. We don’t always need to be selling our faith through a message. We can do it with our art and our actions as well.

    • Part of my take comes from a theological foundation on what I believe church services should do. The same program on at a different time could have been a fun and entertaining. But in my experience and research show that people come to church in hopes to experience an encounter with God. That manifestation can be engaging, creative and even fun, but at its core, it should be about the connection between man and creator. If we fail to connect art with its Creator, we miss an opportunity to make what we do different than a community-college production of My Fair Lady.

  • Thomas McDaniels

    Great post Maurilio. I echo your sentiments and as a church leader we must be as focused and intentional as the world. Actually our activities are more important. nThanks again.

    • Creativity in the church must be intentional or it becomes self serving.

  • This is something I constantly have to think through and be reminded of pretty regularly. Our church really had to answer this question in regards to our Christmas program. We would put in a lot of work for our Christmas production every year. The production was good, and people came. But it really didn’t produce connections to the church (which was our goal). And our Christmas Eve service was always better attended with less advertising and required less work.nnSo we finally stopped doing a Christmas production and focused on our Christmas Eve service, and we have found the results to be more rewarding. Just because we asked, “Why?”nnI like the thought, “Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.”

    • I’m a big fan of the Christmas Eve service. I blogged about it in a couple of different posts. Often people are loyal to the event itself and not to the church. And most of them are churched people who like the show.

  • Thanks for posting this… It is good to know that I am not the only one who walks out of church from time to time trying to figure what the purpose of that gathering was.

    • I want to walk away from a service saying “that moved me” and not “that was cool”

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