UPDATED October 25, 2021: Tomlin United, the worship tour co-headlined by Chris Tomlin and Hillsong United, is no longer calling its ticket packages “VIP Experiences.” This change comes after the tour received online criticism for financially capitalizing on worship experiences.
The tour website has renamed the packages from “VIP Experiences” to “Experience Packages.” While the lowest tier option has been removed, the contents of other two packages remain unchanged. The packages include things like pre-show experiences with Tomlin and members of Hillsong United, early access to merchandise, exclusive souvenirs, and photo opportunities.
Julie Roys, investigative reporter and founder of The Roys Report, sparked an online debate when she tweeted a screenshot from the Tomlin United website, criticizing the tour for using the packages as a way to generate revenue. In that October 16 tweet, Roys said, “I used to really like @christomlin. But this Tomlin United Tour reeks of shameless commercialism.”
While many agreed with Roys’ critique of the tour’s packages, others came to the defense of Tomlin and Hillsong United, arguing that these concert packages play a key role in funding tours and keeping the cost of general admission tickets low.
In a promotional video on the Tomlin United website, Tomlin and Hillsong United singer Joel Houston discuss the purpose of the tour. Referring to the pandemic, which put a halt to in-person experiences for the better part of 18 months, Tomlin said, “We have been in a — right now, to me — in a world of fear. What you realize is, when it’s taken away, how much you’re meant to be with people.”
“I think about this stadium behind us and the arenas that are going to be filled with people who are joining that everlasting song,” Tomlin continued, referring to the stadium where the promotional video was filmed. “There’s nothing like the sound of the people of God singing the praises of God in the presence of God. And when that happens, man, healing happens in people’s lives.”
Houston added, “I have a real sense of trust in the fact that it’s going to be the right time, and it’s the right moment for whatever it is God wants to do.”
ChurchLeaders original article written on October 18, 2021:
Chris Tomlin recently sparked online discussion about consumerism within evangelicalism after announcing his Tomlin United tour, where he will be co-headlining with Hillsong United and featuring Pat Barrett. The controversy centers on the “VIP experiences” available for purchase alongside admission tickets.