Experienced two extreme forms of church last weekend - the mega gathering drawn from the whole country and the micro gathering at the grass roots of a neighbourhood.
The Mega Gathering
Saturday evening with E and friends to Michael W. Smith concert in his Healing Rain Tour at the Gelredome, Arnhem. MWS is a showman and he was well supported by the EO with a high quality podium, audio, video and light show.
He opened with two or three songs from his Healing Rain album. New songs to me. Very slick performances, but not anything that really gripped me. Then he apparently broke with the planned programme to sit down on the edge of the podium with an acoustic guitar and had the whole place (18,500 people) singing some of the golden oldies (Step By Step, Thy Word). Then back to the programme and a mixture of songs from the album (some co-written with Martin Smith of Delirious?) and some classics.
Afterwards we had quite a discussion about the nature of this event. Was it worship in any real sense? Or was it just an entertaining concert lead by a star in the market for Christian songs? And if it was the the latter is that idolatry and to be avoided?
By comparison with the Brian Doerksen, Today concert earlier this year this MWS concert was a huge commercial event. BD was in a church building with around a thousand people and I had no doubt it was the people of God at worship. MWS in Gelredome, with high-tech podium, seemed to lack something by comparison.