ATLANTA, Ga. — Concerns are being raised as Atlanta’s Embassy Church has announced that it plans on making aerialists a “full part” of its “normal worship experience.”
Bryan Meadows, who leads Embassy, recently posted photographs and a video from the CreativeCon Conference, which included a time of worship that incorporated a female aerialist suspended from the ceiling.
“@EmbassyCity fully plans on making aerialists a FULL PART of our normal worship experience!” he wrote. “We endeavor to create a culture driven by the creativity and character of Christ! This was one of my favorite highlights!!!”
The post, while generating over 300 likes, has also both garnered applause and raised eyebrows.
“So cool! So out the box!” one commenter wrote.
“This is HOT!!” another stated.
“I’m all for using all our gifts in the house of God, but how about she covers up her lower body? It can be as distracting as a male worshipper topless,” a third asked.
“The church is the gathering of God’s children to worship, not for a form of entertainment. This shouldn’t be taking place at church,” another said.
Meadows responded to some of the comments, including one follower who asked why having an aerialist is even necessary during worship.
“Because they shouldn’t have to go to the circus to use the gifts that God gave them!” he said. “The church should be able to create space so that everyone can use their gifts to glorify God. People may be distracted for a couple weeks, but they will get used to it!”
“If people can get used to all of the other foolery that happens in church, I’m sure they can get used to somebody genuinely trying to use their gifts to worship God,” Meadows stated.
According to the Embassy Church website, Meadows believes that Christians should be active in “various world systems and sectors, such as government, business, entertainment, family, arts and media, and education.”
“This is how this generation will rise and establish the Throne of our God, the Lord Jesus Christ,” it states.
However, David Whitney, pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Pasadena, Maryland, told Christian News Network that he believes having an aerialist suspended from the ceiling during the time of worship is a distraction from focusing on the Lord and “illustrates how great the need is for revival, repentance and restoration in our land.”
“Biblical worship is conducted for an audience of One, even the One True God. In His Word He tells us what worship is acceptable to Him. For example, 1 Chronicles 16:28 [says], ‘Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name: bring an offering and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,'” he said.
“Thus, an aerialist would seem to detract from the whole purpose of a worship service, which is to focus on giving the glory and praise to God alone,” Whitney stated. “The claim made that this is simply ‘somebody genuinely trying to use their gifts to worship God’ is disingenuous. The worship of the One True God must conform to what pleases Him as He has spoken in His Word.”
He pointed to Christ’s lament in Matthew 15:8-9 as a reminder that God’s people must be careful how they worship.
“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me,” Jesus said. “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Whitney likewise remarked that the aerialist’s attire was concerning, and pointed to 1 Timothy 2:9, which says that women are to “adorn themselves in modest apparel with shamefacedness and sobriety.” Meadows told a concerned commenter that the issue of clothing can be discussed.
“We need to pray for our land, that a revival would break forth and the people would return to the true worship of the One True God,” Whitney said.