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Chris Tomlin drops plans for VIP tickets after criticism about celebrity culture

Christian musician Chris Tomlin has eliminated the VIP ticket option from his latest tour, which is scheduled to include Kansas City’s T-Mobile Center in February.

Ticket options initially included a pricey VIP option that allowed buyers to walk on stage with the artists and take pictures in a catwalk-style photoshoot. The VIP ticket option also allowed buyers to receive premium seats, exclusive gifts and meet-and-greets.

VIP tickets included a celebrity catwalk

However, the inclusion of a staged catwalk for the artists and their fan base took things a step too far, according to online critics, who said Tomlin and Hillsong United were engaging in “celebrity-style commercialized worship.” Tom Read, founder of the United Kingdom’s Modern Hymnal, took to Twitter to express his distaste about the ticket option.

“I’m not sure which is worse: that Hillsong and Chris Tomlin think that this is OK in the context of worship or that there’s actually a demand for it?” he tweeted. “Some people will think that I’m being unfair here or unnecessarily ‘divisive,’ but at what point are we allowed to say something is not OK? Because this is not OK, and justifying it just contributes to the problem.”

Read, who said he’s been heavily influenced by both Hillsong United and Tomlin, added that the option for VIP tickets was “hugely disappointing, but sadly not surprising.”

“Modern-day worship has become so corrupt that I have no doubt Jesus would flip the tables on so much of it,” he wrote. “In my opinion, worship needs its own reformation that rids itself of the celebrity culture that it’s become so entrenched in. This will continue as long as we give a platform for it to continue. So please, do not buy a ‘VIP EXPERIENCE’ for worship events. It’s the opposite of what worship should be about. We need to do better.”

But still, concert promoters are squeezing out every bit of money from concertgoers. This after many promoters received millions in PPP money from the federal government under the Covid recovery plan.

Hillsong United and Tomlin’s concert tickets for their 33-day tour are available now with a new option to buy “Experiences” instead of VIP tickets. Despite the controversy surrounding VIP tickets, Tomlin and Hillsong United remain optimistic about the upcoming tour.

“For me, what is so important to remember is that music is God’s idea,” Tomlin said. “Isn’t that beautiful? God gave us not only a way to worship him but also to connect and communicate with him through music. Worship is different from any other concert. It’s your soul connecting to God. It’s eternal and an opportunity to join in everlasting praise.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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