Home Christian News UPDATE: Tomlin United Removes ‘VIP’ From Ticket Packages Following Criticism

UPDATE: Tomlin United Removes ‘VIP’ From Ticket Packages Following Criticism

The Tomlin United website outlines three tiered VIP packages that include experiences such as early access to the venue, a pre-show photo opportunity from the on-stage catwalk, exclusive gifts, and a pre-show experience with Chris Tomlin and Hillsong United onstage.

Julie Roys, investigative reporter and founder of The Roys Report, tweeted a screenshot of the VIP package options, saying, “I used to really like @christomlin. But this Tomlin United Tour reeks of shameless commercialism. I’m having trouble thinking an event offering photo ops on the stage catwalk & an ‘intimate pre-show artist experience’ with Tomlin & United’ (for a price) is all about Jesus. Ugh.”

In the Twitter thread, a number of others responded in agreement with Roys.

“Welcome to CCM…Carman, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W Smith and others have done the same thing for decades,” replied Marty Daniels. “It’s disgusting when the loudest voice (sic) for the faith are commercial entities that more often treat Jesus as a mascot than our messiah.”

Criticizing the commoditization of Christian entertainment, Robert Sims said, “…somehow this is all OK simply because ‘we’re doing it for Jesus’. Literally anything can be defended and positioned as being above criticism by labeling it in that fashion. US Evangelicalism is a big business, full stop. And woe unto anyone who tries to point this out.”

Tom Reed tweeted, “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?”

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On the other hand, some came to the defense of Tomlin’s character. Nathan Phinney tweeted in reply to Roys, “I ran front of house (audio) for Chris at a conference many years ago. He was easily the most popular worship leader in America. Walked up to me and said ‘Hi, I’m Chris.’  Didn’t expect me to know who he was. Ate lunch with the crew. Very humble dude.”

Others argued that there is nothing inherently wrong with how the Tomlin United tour is monetizing these experiences to make a living, not only for themselves but for their extensive production crews. 

Retweeting Roys’ screenshot, Christian Alexander said, “I often appreciate Julie’s drive to hold Christians accountable and expose hypocrisy and abuse. But this seems overly critical to me. Big tours have to do extra things to bring in more money so they can pay the 100s of workers involved. Especially after/in a pandemic!”