First Larne Presbyterian Church

First Larne Presbyterian Church

Lessons for the Church from the Swifties

Lessons for the Church from the Swifties

Ticketmaster has issued an apology to Taylor Swift and her mass of adoring fans following a botched ticket release for her hotly-anticipated Eras Tour.

As fans found themselves in online queues, had tickets disappear from their baskets at the payment stage, and then saw bot-purchased tickets enter the resale market at ten times face value, Ticketmaster’s groaning infrastructure poked the great sleeping bear that is the T-Swizzle fan base.

Few artists have a fan base so fierce it could compel the federal government to investigate the practices of an established company.

There’s something unique about the shared experience. Whether your preference is live music, sport, or drama, something within us yearns to be in a crowd of onlookers, transfixed by the grand theatre of whatever we have come to see.

Our church services may seem to bear little more than a surface level resemblance to a sold-out Wembley Stadium, but I think there’s something to pay attention to in the habits of the Taylor Swift fan.

If you speak to a young fan about their experience at the concert of their dreams, it’s wonderful to see their face light up as they tell you all about the staging, the lighting, the performances, and the energy in the room.

However, their appreciation of the international sensation doesn’t stop when they leave the arena. It finds a way to permeate every cell of their being. It’s what they listen to on the bus. It’s what they talk about with their friends. It determines how they spend their (often limited) money.

A Swifty doesn’t follow their icon just for the live show. There’s an equal level of devotion to her album releases, music videos, and astronomically priced merchandise.

The challenge to us as the church today is to recognise that, just as the Swifties’ love of Taylor extends beyond the gig, so too our love of Christ must go beyond the Sunday service. In the same way that young people’s faces radiate with delight when they tell us about their musical heroes and heroines, we have to find a similar passion with which to talk about Jesus.

The hardcore Swifties don’t stop being Swifties when the gig is over. They don’t offer up a small percentage of their leisure time to be a fan of Taylor Swift. It defines their lives.

I want to love Jesus like that.

Sam Brown
Church Advocate