So if you’ve been following a long for a while now, you know that I only book myself on stage about once a month, in order to adequately evaluate the services, especially since we deal with the two simultaneous auditoriums.
Well, somehow I ended up booking myself on stage 2 weeks in a row. Last week on East, and this week on West. And there’s no real problem with that, other than it changes one’s focus from evaluating the service (and more specifically the worship) as a whole, to focusing on one’s individual role and responsibility.
Basically, beware the staff music person that books themselves on stage every week.
The reasoning and analogies for that should be pretty obvious by now. After all, a good sports coach is not one of the players. He’s on the sidelines with a much broader view, able to orchestrate all the elements, and adjust as necessary.
But there’s also balance: I still need to book myself to play every once in a while so that I can:
– Use my skills, gifts and abilities for the benefit of the local church (thus the glory of God)
– Satisfy my needs as a musician by actually playing music!!
– Be reminded of and understand what our players and singers go through, so that I can better relate to them on a daily basis, and stick up for them when necessary. It’s so important to be their advocate – not the enemy.
– To occasionally get out of evaluation mode, and allow me, personally, a deeper time of worship. For me, it’s way easier to worship while on stage, rather than off stage: evaluating, judging, scrutinizing…
We had originally planned on doing 4 worship tunes this week, since we had some extra time in the service.
(NOTE: Yes, I know that sounds strange to some of you who normally do more music)
But after last week’s message by Louie, we got lots of angry email. We also sold nearly 500% more CD’s of the message! (Talk about polarizing!)
The decision was made by Andy that he was going to address Louie’s message and the angry emails, and so needed more time. So we cut the 4th song. Sure, we were sad, but what Andy had to say in those extra 4 minutes was priceless! Incredible! And after hearing it, we were totally cool with cutting the tune.
After the regular welcome and couple of announcements, Andy said he wanted to address some issues about Louie’s message. He first said that it was one of the most incredible Sundays and messages that this church had ever experienced. (How’s that for dousing a fire!)
He went on to talk about the email he’d received, and that it was mostly about the language that Louie had quoted when reading Ashley’s diary, and that most of the emails were from people that had younger kids with them in the service.
Andy then did the best “it’s my fault” I’ve heard in a while… He blamed himself for not casting the vision to the congregation that part of why this church exists is so that it can deal with the relevant issues of culture in a way that is actually relevant to the culture. We’re not “edgy” or try to be controversial. We just try to talk about stuff that is actually a real part of human life. And to do something just for the sake of being “cutting-edge” without being relevant to the service is just immature and silly, and we don’t do that.
He then mentioned that we have what we feel to be some of the best children’s programs in the country. And they’re meant for children. And the main adult worship service is NOT one of them!
Just as an adult would be bored and out of place in a children’s program, so too would a child be out of place in our worship service. It’s not that it’s inappropriate, it’s just not programmed for them. Plain and simple.
He went on to talk about how you view one of our services totally different once you finally have an unsaved friend or loved one attend with you. You view the entire experience, from parking lot to the service and back again, with a very different filter. And THAT’S what our goal is and the filter through which we program our Sunday morning experience.
He said that for some of you the service is too short, and that the music is too loud, and this and that. And that’s OK. But when you bring your friend for the first time, you want them to leave going “WOW. That’s not what I expected from a church, and I can’t wait to come back”.
And so the music will stay too loud for some of you, and you won’t agree with the way everything is done. But it’s done for a reason, and through a specific filter, and with a clear mission.
That’s about the gist of what he said.
So after we heard that, we were glad he did what he did and said what he said. And we agreed that he can request to cut a song to say stuff like that anytime 😉
And here’s my two cents as to how we program our Sunday Service: It’s not right, and it’s not wrong. It is, however, the end product of the Holy Spirit working through a group of very smart, very sensitive, and very maverick group of individuals that celebrate and repeat what we agree is good, do not repeat what we agree is not good, evaluate constantly and question everything – all through a specific filter and mission.
And I am thankful to God and honored to be a part of that group. I hope you find yourself in a similar group, full of people you admire, with opinions that may sometimes DIFFER from yours, but that you fully respect.
OK, OK, on to WORSHIP already…:
Salvation’s Chorus by Todd Fields
We sped this one up to 110 bpm and let it really rock. It was real fun, and felt great!
Here I Am To Worship
An oldie, but a real goodie. We had the female BGV lead this one. A real nice touch.
By the way, familiar tunes like this one are especially effective if you ever want to “break in” or “try out” a newer worship leader.
East Band – Michael Gleason, Mike Hines, Danny Howes, Chrystina Fincher, Ashley Appling, Pat Malone, Keith Thomas
West Band – Eddie Kirkland, Danny Grady, Ben Snider, Scott Meeder, Earl South, Jordan Watts, Me
What got YOU excited about your church this week?