The Disco Church

This is where some churches have now stooped to:

For some decades now I had a standard line about the decaying church surrendering to the surrounding culture, especially on things like homosexuality. I would often say this: ‘We might as well just give it all up and turn our churches into discos’ – or words to that effect.

I of course had in mind selling off empty church buildings. I did not think for a moment that folks might start taking my words to heart. I certainly did not think folks would do this to churches while they were still considered to be churches! But that now seems to be happening, and I guess nothing should surprise us anymore.

Churches used as discos? Yes, you heard me right. A friend in the UK just sent me this news item from the BBC, featuring this headline: “Canterbury disco: ‘Parties can get more people to visit church’.” The piece opens with these words:

When you think of a church or cathedral, the thing that might come to mind is it being a place and time for self-reflection. But lately there have been a series of silent discos taking place in cathedrals and historic buildings around the UK and Europe. “I love the idea of people dancing on a Saturday night and praying on a Sunday morning. I think we can do both,” the Reverend Jessica Fellows tells BBC Newsbeat.


The “disco-loving” vicar is a self-proclaimed Harry Styles fan who uses her church to organise silent discos as well as beer and carols events. “The more the merrier. We need people to come in and have fun – it’s not all boring and serious,” she says. She hopes these events can result in greater interest in religion, at a time of less interest.


In the 2021 census for England and Wales, a third of people under the age of 35 identified as Christian, compared to just under half of those under 35 in 2011. Church of England figures also suggest dwindling congregation numbers, with 2022 having an average weekly attendance of 654,000 people – up from 2021 but down from 854,000 people in 2019.

Oh dear. Discos to get more people in. Now why didn’t the disciples and those in the early church do things like that? Oh yeah, that’s right: they did not need to. They simply relied on faithfully preaching the gospel and trusting the Holy Spirit to do his work. So they didn’t do anything to ‘get people in.’

But so many leaders in our churches today are so spiritually dead and morally bankrupt that they actually believe that strobe lights, smoke machines and ‘party, party, party’ is what we must now rely on to get folks in and build up the church. Good grief.

The article goes on to say this:

The Reverend Michael Darkins from Hythe, just down the road from Canterbury, has put on concerts at his church as well as Warhammer game nights. “We’ve got this beautiful 11th century church… we’re known locally for our collection of 1,200 skulls in the crypt – so it’s the perfect aesthetic for that. Anything that helps people feel comfortable and welcome in these spaces is going to have a positive effect.”

So let me see if I got this straight: anything that helps draw in the masses has gotta be a good thing. Hmm… I would imagine having gambling machines in the churches could well draw a crowd. You would likely get big numbers showing up if they had strip shows. Indeed, imagine what great attendance you would get if you offered public hangings. The sky is the limit here.

Thankfully not everyone thinks church disco parties are the way forward:

But there has been criticism about churches and cathedrals opening up to host these events. Almost 2,000 people  signed a petition against the silent discos being held at cathedrals like Canterbury. Petition organiser Cajetan Skowronski told BBC South East he was sceptical the events will get younger people into church. “It will not bring young people closer to Christ, rather it will send the message that Christ and his church, and all the truth, beauty and goodness it has to offer, are unimportant. That entertainment deserves our attention more than God.”

Praise God for a bit of sanity, and for a small remnant of real-deal Christians still being there and speaking out. When Christianity degenerates into mindless entertainment – all in the hopes of reviving the church and getting more folks along – then you know you have hit rock bottom. In this case my earlier advice does indeed stand: just sell off your churches and turn them into discos.

Sadly we have been warned by great men of God in the past about the dangers of swapping entertainment for worship, holiness, and the presence of Almighty God. Consider the words of some saints from various periods who would be utterly disgusted by what is happening here:

“A message pleasant to deliver? No, far from it! A message likely to be popular with the hearers? No, the very reverse! But a message sorely needed and criminally neglected. Did the Lord Jesus preach a sermon in the temple on the love of God while its sacred precincts were being made a den of thieves? Yet this is what thousands of those who posed as His servants have been doing for the last two or three generations. With flaming eye and scourge in hand, the Redeemer drove out, from His Father’s house, the traffickers who defiled it. And those who were His true servants denounced the entertainments, socials, and other worldly devices employed by the churches to ‘hold the young people.’ Those who were the true servants of Christ refused to use carnal methods for adding numbers of nominal professors to their membership. Those who were the true servants of Christ proclaimed the unchanging demands of a holy God, insisted on the enforcing of a scriptural discipline, and resigned their pastorates when their flocks rebelled.” A. W. Pink

“It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to attend a meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.” A. W. Tozer

The church “appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his powers. So today we have astonishing spectacle of millions of dollars being poured into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment for the so-called sons of heaven. Religious entertainment is in many places rapidly crowding out the serious things of God. Many churches these days have become little more than poor theatres where fifth-rate “producers” peddle their shoddy wares with the full approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defense of their delinquency. And hardly a man dares raise his voice against.” A. W. Tozer

“In a world where everything revolves around self – protect yourself, promote yourself, preserve yourself, entertain yourself, comfort yourself, take care of yourself – Jesus said, ‘Slay yourself’.” David Platt

“What I have seen in the past 10 years of traveling – performing at a church one day and a casino the next – is that a lot of people in the church want to be entertained, and people in casinos want to be ministered to. That’s hard to understand, but I see a hunger in the world that I don’t see in the church.” Ricky Skaggs, Christian musician

[1302 words]

11 Replies to “The Disco Church”

  1. Bill, (in my opinion, which is not worth much) this is the best article you have written; I give God all the credit, He had to be directing you! The quotes you provided were spot on!– Thank you.

  2. That’s weird Bill, but back in the early 70s when I was a spaced out hippie a lot of us stoners used to go into St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne and there was a rock mass ran by a priest there who we called Father Cool. So maybe it’s not so new. About three years later I was saved by the almighty grace of God. Anyway just a little story, God bless you heaps Bill.

  3. In your report above, Bill, you quoted the organiser of the petition protesting against English churches and cathedrals being turned into discos, Cajetan Skowronski.

    Late last year, Dr Skowronski, wrote a memorable article, “Canterbury fails: Why we must oppose the rave in the nave”, in The European Conservative (Nov 25, 2023).

    Here are some of his comments:

    “There has already been a golf course in Rochester’s Cathedral. A helter-skelter in Norwich. A Star Wars display in Peterborough. A Silent Disco was held in Ely Abbey. And now the mother church, our nation’s most significant religious building, Canterbury Cathedral, the seat of the Most Reverend and Right Honourable the Lord Archbishop, Justin Welby, is to follow suit.

    “Either Welby is ignorant of what is planned by his dean, David Monteith,* or he is aware of it and supposedly happy for it to happen, which would make him ignorant of his job. The Rave in the Nave, as it shall probably be known, will take place over two nights in February and is a strictly 18+ event, featuring plenty of alcohol and the music of the ’90s: Britney, Spice Girls, Eminem, and the Vengaboys.

    “The gaping vacuum that clearly exists in the minds of Welby, Monteith and their fellow progressive clerics is the lack of any sense of the sacred. Which is ordinarily sort of a big deal in religion. Profaning sacred spaces for a quick buck is one of the few things which caused Welby’s ultimate boss, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to unleash His righteous fury, which upset the corrupt priesthood enough to call for crucifixion.”

    “Canterbury Cathedral [is] the most important religious building in our country, the site of the martyrdom and relics of St Thomas à Becket, the repository for the mortal remains of kings, princes and bishops, the destination of millions of pilgrims for centuries, the inspiration for our greatest early work of literature, and most importantly, the site of countless prayers and sacraments — the House of God.

    “How dare Archbishop Welby and Dean Monteith, as custodians of this monumental site, betray the communion of innumerable Christians, both living and dead, of their own denomination and beyond, who treasure this place and would see it treated with the honour it deserves.”

    [*In 2008, the Dean of Canterbury, David Monteith, reportedly entered into a civil partnership with David Hamilton.]

  4. Thanks bill for informing us about what is happening in some major churches. It is similar to your post a few days ago about people pretending to be Christians to gain monetary/food aid – we have to be so careful as our goodwill gets used up fast and then to pay church bills or missionary funding the churches have to have op shops, ladies groups selling plants and cooking and now it looks like discos to get the young in. In some modern churches the music is nearly disco music so how do we decide what God’s Will is in all of this? As you tell so many times, the Lord Jesus for once got so angry he overturned the money changers tables and made a whip to chase the animals and probably people out of the synagogue saying “My Father’s house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” That’s why we need to keep praying for a big worldwide revival as it is the only way we are going to see young and old flock to the churches again.

  5. Another solid article Bill. Sadly, so many believers are void of the Word and unable to be Spirit led which leaves them floundering in the flesh being blown whichever way the winds of doctrine take them. Conforming to bringing worldly entertainment into the Church speaks volumes about that churches lack of leadership responsibilities to preach the full counsel of God on a regular basis whether heaven or hell or anything in between. 1 Peter 4:17: “For the time has come for judgement to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?”

  6. How grotesque and macabre it is to have seen Ann Furedi, former head of the largest abortion service, in the UK BPAS , being honoured with a doctorate in an award ceremony held in Canterbury Cathedral in 2020 [1]

    In 2017 the 300th anniversary of the Masonic Society was held in Canterbury Cathedral [2]

    How soon before Allah and Satan are openly worshipped in our cathedrals as part of King Charles’ desire to be the defender of all faiths?


    David Skinner

    David Skinner UK

  7. I was horrified listening on line to an Australian ‘minister’, ‘preaching’ and talking about pornography. They did not make it clear that they had been involved. Yet just their mention of porn raised many eye brows. Is that what a church service for? To bring up about porn?

  8. Thanks Judith. Well, a church pastor should proclaim the whole counsel of God. That includes the good news of salvation, but also the bad news of sin. And given that porn is one of the biggest and most widespread sins in our culture today, and sadly perhaps one of the biggest and most widespread sins in our churches today, he dare NOT refuse to speak on it. People need help dealing with that sin as much as they do dealing with gossip, unforgiveness, anger, greed and so on.

  9. It’s stupid and disgraceful. Making a mockery of the church which is a sacred place and which is God’s house. Unfortunately most churches in the West are apostate and have become sinner friendly and are about entertaining people. Church has become a joke which is terrible. I love going to church and I go to church to honour God and to worship God. The Bible also mentions the apostate church in the end times. Most of the churches in the West today are apostate. It’s one of the many signs that we are in the end times. Hillsong also know as Hellsong as well as Joel Osteen’s church are all phoney fake apostate church’s. The gay churches the GLBT church’s are also phoney fake apostate churches. The people that run these churches and that go along to these churches have been deceived by Satan. I pray for them and I pray that they will no longer be deceived and that they will come to know the truth.

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