Christian comedian John Crist believes that pastors and church leaders are not to blame for the consumer mindset that is taking over churches, but that in fact, it is the body that is at fault.
In a video he shared to Facebook, Crist shared that a large part of the messages he receives from his followers detail excessive things their churches are doing to increase their attendance.
Sharing how one church had a candy drop via helicopter for their kids Easter celebration, he explained that the church, although leading these events, are only doing so because that’s what the church body wants.
“I think I want to change my stance,” Crist said, who has poked fun at pastors and churches in the past.
“You know why all these churches do all these things?” he asked, “for us.”
“We’ve obviously created the demand,” he explained, defending the pastors.
“You know why your church spent your tithe money to get a photo booth? Because everyone at the church took a photo in front of it,” he said.
Crist, who grew up as a pastors kid, has seen first hand how demanding the church body can be when it comes to entertainment.
He recalled a story that his father shared with him one time about a family that left the church because the children’s drama program had been discontinued.
“We are literally healing the sick and feeding the poor, and the family was like ‘we don’t care, we want The Wizard of Oz,” Crist joked recalling the predicament.
He further pointed out that the church members are also what fuel watered-down messages, because if they heard otherwise, they would leave.
“Churches are the way they are, very watered down, very seeker-friendly, not because of the pastors, not because of the leaders…it’s because of us,” Crist says.
Crist also added that he does not understand why churches go with ‘at the movies’ themes.
“And don’t get me started on churches with ‘at the movies’ themes. No, I don’t want to hear about the Beatitudes … What? It’s a parallel to ‘Finding Nemo’? Tell me more,” he joked.
“I’m over the days of blaming the churches, and blaming the pastors. Maybe its time for us to start looking at ourselves in the movies,” he said.
“Maybe this is who we are,” he said.
Justin Kintzel, Communications and Worship pastor at Applewood Baptist Chruch, commented on Crist’s video, commending him for approaching a difficult topic.
“Really great perspective bro,” Kintzel wrote. “I appreciate this a lot.”
“I do still think, and even Biblically, that the responsibility for the direction each church takes is still on the pastor which is why he’s held to a MUCH higher standard,” Kintzel pointed out. “If people demand At The Movies in order to come, and then we as the pastors give it to them to sort of bribe them into being there – I believe the greater fault is the Pastor who doesn’t live up to the calling but bends the knee to culture, numbers, fame, coolness, relevance, a watered-down gospel that the undiscerning won’t see a problem with, etc.”
Kintzel ended his post by letting Crist know that although he might disagree with him, he respects his opinion, and his desire to bring this conversation to light.
“…I personally truly respect it. The mainstream definitely won’t appreciate it, and I personally understand the conflict and draw to be a part of that. Anyway, thanks again man,” Kintzel added.