I cannot begin to count the times that I have heard this question. My response is and always has been that we offer the soul-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is sad that for too many this is simply not enough. They are looking for something less. They want the congregation to host parties, trips, and sponsor entertainment for their children. This is simply not the work of the church.
God ordained three institutions and each has its work. God ordained civil government to provide order and protections for its citizens. This includes, among other things, the punishment of evil doers (Rom. 13:1-5). The church’s work is to evangelize (1 Thess. 1:8; Acts 13:1-3; 1 Tim. 3:14-15), edify (1 Cor. 14:26; Acts 20:32), and provide benevolence. Nowhere is the church charged with providing entertainment or social activities. Congregations must be very careful how they use the funds give to the Lord.
There is a tremendous difference between a group of Christians getting together to play basketball, go skating, bowling, fishing, or going to Six Flags using their own funds and Christians doing the same things using money given to the Lord’s work. We are a social people and should enjoy being together and doing things together, but to charge the church with such is sinful. Social matters are a work of the home and Christian homes can and should provide recreation and entertainment, but to charge the church is unauthorized.
Someone will surely reply that providing recreation is an “outreach” of the church into the community. After all, we must attract people somehow. But our “outreach” is to be through the preaching of the Gospel, that is our charge and the way the Lord said to do it (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16). So, the next argument is that this “recreation” is edification. The problem with that is that edification is accomplished through the Word of God (Acts 20:32). We edify through preaching and teaching. The fact is there is no authority for church-sponsored recreation in the Word of God. You can find no statement, implication, or example that allows the church to become a financier of the recreational and social activities regardless of the fact that so many are looking for congregations that provide such.
There is a pattern for the church (Heb. 8:1-5) and if we recognize Jesus Christ as our Lord and King we will follow that pattern and not corrupt it by adding social activities and recreation to the work God has charged to us. “Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Prov. 30:6).