Posts Tagged ‘church’
For those that have been in church 20 or more years, you have no doubt noticed a shift in music.
We used to gather on Sundays, flip open a book (called a hymnal, or if you were REALLY up-to-date it would be a “chorus book”). The music team was often led by someone up front waving an arm up, down, left and right (sign of the cross?) and the “band” was a piano player or organ – and the back up singers were 50 in number … they called this a choir and they even wore choir robes. Everyone had a part to sing, whether it be Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bass. Oh yeah, those books that they read from, had these little dots with lines going up or down. They were usually find on five lines that were stretched across the page.
Then … it went to song books which had several “updated” music in it. The arm waver was still there, as well as the music team, but maybe the addition of an acoustic guitar. The choir group, became an octet … and they all matched outfits, usually light in color.
Then … the discovery of using an overhead projector incorporated into the “modern” mindset. The overhead allowed you to show on a big screen quick changes of music. We all lifted our heads “up” (to the screen) instead of “down” to the book. The sound from those in the pews was more loud. The music team is now led by a guy with an acoustic (maybe) and the piano. The organ would be used for special music. The octet is now a quarter that MUST consist of two men, and two women. One of which has to have a bushy mustache (the males that is).
Then … the use of slide projectors that had sections of songs on each slide. Fancy. This was usually brought out with an additional team which consisted of the acoustic guitar player (now plugged in to the sound board), an electric bass, drums (but a very low key set and usually off stage somewhere), piano player (which is still a main instrument – but sometimes the piano might be replaced with a keyboard). What’s an organ? The quartet is now mostly ladies, and one of the ladies might have a resemblance of a mustache of some sort. The lone male on the vocals is usually really skinny. They still like to dress the same. The songs are much more upbeat and sometimes even somewhat modern (if you call 20 years in the past modern).
Then … the use of the infamous “power point”. We are smokin’ now! This means instant back and forth of songs, low cost, cool snazzy affects (like the flying in of words, or coloring of certain words … or even … with the artistic ones … an introduction of a picture in between songs). The band is a band with an electric/acoustic leader, backed up by an electric bass, drums (on stage), keyboard and some kind of brass/orchestra instrument of some sort now and then (violin, sax, tuba, etc.) The vocalists range from a single female back up singer that has sweet pipes and incredible harmonies to a hip quintet. They no longer feel it necessary to stand in a straight line that is angled, but now are in duets throughout the platform. The songs have now shifted from the yesteryear of the hymnbooks and are now songs that include songs of Jesus, but also more about our feelings. They also tend to be in a range that the only “men” that can sing it are ones that have been castrated or have not yet hit puberty and still have that ability to sing 12 octaves up.
Then … we ditched power point because it is so ‘linear’. We now go with other programs that allow the music leader (who is usually sporting some kind of fashion trendiness) to be able to go with the flow and be led by the spirit. This allows them to completely skip over a song or add a song as ‘they are led’. This means more headache for the sound crew (and now the light crew as the stage is more geared towards performance aesthetics). The looks of the screen have changed as we can now add video in behind the words that are being sung. Usually there is a lit candle somewhere on stage. The music team? They shift – they usually sound incredible, and are in constant rotation, but often are not the same weekly. The vocals share the music leading. The songs are now pretty much just three songs, in the key of D, that usually emphasize 12 words over, and over, and over, and over, and over. The only organ that is being spoken of is that of the anatomy. The songs are still outrageously high and the windows budget is astronomical as the songs sung are constantly shattering glass somewhere). There is usually one new song that is being sung every week, some of which come from the top 20 on some local radio station. Thankfully they shy away from doing country songs (for obvious reasons … is there any real joy in country music?)
What will tomorrow hold?
All of these have had major impacts in the lives of those that gather to worship Jesus. Music is an appreciated part of the life of believers. It is also a divisive part. Each generational shift in the music has catered to the current culture that the church is wanting to reach (albeit still from the culture of yesteryear).
God values our worship of Him in any way it can happen (Music, life, prayer, etc.). But music tends to be the one thing that the whole church can do together … a community thing.
I tend to go into moods with singing at church. Sometimes I am just not in the mood because I am too busy critiquing what is going on (repetition of words, songs about feelings, and high pitch). I wonder if I would be more effective by shutting my mouth and reading the words. Regardless of my approach, God desires my worship of Him.
What do I do to allow God to outwardly see what is going on inside?
How could singing be so important to God?
How many octaves high are we supposed to reach?
Do most men actually sing in church?
I think my buddies Vin Thomas and Tyler Braun have sounded off on this before. Check ‘em out.
What are your thoughts on this subject?
A couple of weeks ago I decided that I would step down from Men’s Ministry. A bout a week ago I made that knowledgeable to the church leadership. This week it is now official.
I feel like a failure.
I shouldn’t … but I do.
Strange how I think that I have grown a bit in my faith enough to get over insecurities of not having a “title” or “position” in the church, like a trained assassin this came back in my life and skillfully knifed me. I can look back and can see how I had been establishing myself in the position, as if God really needs ME to do it. I am doing ministry, but not being very effective. I held on to the title of Director but didn’t do any directing. After talking out loud with a pastor at church I realized that what I REALLY want to do and what I am currently doing are not lined up. It’d be like asking a football player to play basketball – sure it’s a sport, but is it the one you are skilled in?
What I feel gifted in is leading, training (discipling) and teaching. For me, directing a program involves some of it, but adds on another element of what I don’t want/need to do. I had this constant pressure of wanting to keep the program going and pleasing guys (guys who don’t email back – ya know, the whole reading thing). The problem was that even though the turnouts were well attended for the various things we have done, I wasn’t being satisfied.
I also know that right now, I am in the midst of some pretty big things at work that are tugging my time away. I -can not- be split in too many ways. My wife and I are trying to make sure that we spend adequate time with each other as we need to. Stepping down from this role really is a wise thing to do.
Yet, I still struggle with that failure thing. If I had put more effort, more time, more thoughts into it, it would still be running. But I can’t. I am just a dude. Yet still … I battle this thing of what makes up my worth. I can say on the surface that I know that my worth isn’t in what I do or what my title is. But I swing that way. Argh! This will be a trying time for me. I need to make sure that I find my value in Jesus and what He thinks of me and not in the things I do. If I move in this direction of faith, I will be better and leave this foolishness of pride behind. It is easy to evolve ourselves into the proverbial human-doing (instead of human-being) I know corny corny corny, but quite true. My doing should be a result OF who I am.
So “what am I?”
I am a sinner – who has been given an incredible amount of grace by Jesus who died for my sins so that I can have a relationship with the Creator of the world and also has the ability to not be eternally effected any more by my sin which gives me an incredible amount of freedom to live life in the way that Jesus did which allows the world to see Jesus to also be redeemed. Whew … long sentence.
This was stolen from a fellow bloggers site and originally taken from What is a Healthy Church? I had been wanting to write something on this topic for a while but he did a better job than I did. My comments are on the very end.
“If you’re thinking about leaving a church.”
Before You Decide to Leave
2. Let your current pastor know about your thinking before you move to another church or make your decision to relocate to another city. Ask for his counsel.
3. Weigh your motives. Is your desire to leave because of sinful, personal conflict or disappointment? If it’s because of doctrinal reasons, are these doctrinal issues significant?
4. Do everything within your power to reconcile any broken relationships.
5. Be sure to consider all the “evidences of grace” you’ve seen in the church’s life – places where God’s work is evident. If you cannot see any evidences of God’s grace, you might want to examine your own heart once more (Matt. 7:3-5).
6. Be humble. Recognize you don’t have all the facts and assess people and circumstances charitably (give them the benefit of the doubt).
If You Go
1. Don’t divide the body.
2. Take the utmost care not to sow discontent even among your closest friends. Remember, you don’t want anything to hinder their growth in grace in this church. Deny any desire to gossip (sometimes referred to as “venting” or “saying how you feel”).
3. Pray for and bless the congregation and its leadership. Look for ways of doing this practically.
4. If there has been hurt, then forgive – even as you have been forgiven.
Joe Thorn says “Great words of advice from a pastor I really respect. Over the years I have seen families move on to other churches for good reasons and bad reasons. Back in 1992 I blew it myself. As a young Christian I left the church through which I was converted for another church that was more doctrinally oriented. The specific reasons for moving on were sound, but the manner in which I left was not considerate. I just up and left without notice. After a few weeks the pastoral staff called and inquired how I was. I told them I decided to move on to another church. We eventually sat down over lunch where they were gracious to me, but explained that as a member of the church I should have been been more considerate of my church family. The advice I was given then was very similar to what mark has written above.”
As a former pastor, the worst thing is for us as leadership to wake up one week and say “hey, where has Joe been?” only to find out that he has been gone for several weeks. Talk about a pastor not tending the sheep! But really, when we join a church (wether officially or not) we are joining a family! We have family responsibilities! We can’t just treat a church as we would a store and let our feet do the voting. We do have a basic obligation to let people know we are leaving.
At my previous church I wrote the following letter when we left (and after praying and discussing with the leadership)
Dear Leaders of North Salem Baptist Church,
Meredith and I have had many good years of experience here at this church. I, Randy, have dedicated my life to Christ at this church about 18 years ago as a high school student, and Meredith has grown in the faith here as well. It was shortly after that time when I met and fell in love with my high school sweetheart. I not only proposed to her here, but we were later married in this church. Right around the same time I received a call for full-time ministry that was not only my desire, but echoed and confirmed within the leadership of the church. Meredith and I have raised our children a mere few hundred feet from the doors of this church. Both of our children have given their lives to Jesus within our time frame here as well. Through ministry both Mer and I have been privileged to see many people come to Christ and grow in the faith . . .and move on. We have had good friends that, if it weren’t for Christ, we never would have the privilege of even knowing each other. Countless conversations were had within these walls of a spiritual nature. This was also not only the place of my fall from my responsibilities as a pastor, but the rebirth of a better understanding of the grace that is lavished upon us, as well as a new re-birth of our family. It was our goal to model after Paul’s words in 1 Thess. 2:8 “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” Our prayer has been that this would have been true.
We want to thank not only the leadership of this church for helping to restore me and my wife to each other, but also to the body of Christ. What happened two years ago was the toughest thing we have ever had to face in our lives, but God is so incredibly good, he sought to use it to bring about something new within our family. Something that we didn’t see before. Something very good.
Needless to say, we have very fond memories of NSBC and Christ’s use of this church to help shape us in our spiritual journeys.
We are writing to say that for sometime now, both Meredith and I have felt a desire to seek membership with another church family. We have spent time in a season of prayer and have sought wise counsel with mature believers that have been in our life, and they are in agreement with us moving on. We do not do this lightly. Nor do we do it for any negative reason against anyone in the church. We are leaving with a peaceful assurance.
We both want to go on official record saying that we are in full agreement with the direction the church is going towards and have full confidence in Pastor Joe Lombardi’s leadership towards that end. In fact, some of the things that we have seen and foresee taking place have been things we have been praying would happen in this church.
Our hope is that you would wish us well in this transition for us.
Our last day at NSBC will be June 5th. I will have completed any and all current responsibilities for ministry.
We recognize that when families move from one fellowship, it can be a bit awkward in handling. We trust that you will do what is right and appropriate. It is not our intention to encourage anyone else to leave, this is our personal choice and decision. We give permission to reprint any or all of this letter to the rest of the family. Please do let us know, how you will inform (or not inform) the church.
Thank you again, for helping to provide an opportunity to experience God working through us and around us at a place such as this. We will be in prayer for the ministry and direction here.
With sincere regards,
Randy and Meredith Mooney
So if you leave, leave well, don’t stain Jesus Bride.
We did it! MAN CAMP 2007 is over. Now on to the lingering effects of a good time.
It felt good to be used by God to prepare an event that brought a bunch of men together. We had lots of rain and a few forgotten items (my bad!) But not one of the guys complained. God provided the good weather at the right times, and the bad weather at the right times. The bad weather forced us to meet together under tarps and in tents. The good weather allowed us to play and enjoy the things He has provided.
From this, I had hoped that many of the guys (at least 10 of them) would connect regularly outside of Sundays. At last count in my head, I think there is over 10!
Thank you Lord.
Please give me wisdom to lead the men to You.
It is the night before MAN CAMP.
How am I feeling? I have to admit, a little stressed. I am not a detail kind of guy, and for this, I was really trying to be “big picture” and hope the details fall in place, they didn’t … those little things took their own sweet time. Oh well, that is the life of doing ministry. I love it, though I dislike these parts.
We have 25 guys now going to the camp. It is funny because there are a few that I can tell are leary of carpooling with others, but when refelcting on it a little bit, it is because they don’t really know each other … yet another good reason to go the camp!
We are pretty much maxed out for sleeping arrangements, and if it rains, I just pray the tents will hold well. Also if it rains, there is no back up plan. So I am hoping the same weather that God gives us on a lot of our outdoor church activities, will still be true with this event.
Strengthening the grip is the theme and I am trying to focus specifically on getting others to see our need to strengthen our grip with each other, so that we can strengthen our grip with God.
Those watching … pray for no rain, good connections and decent teaching.
Today I had a conversation with a fellow co-worker. We ended up talking a little about church, more specifically about messages at the church. She had talked about how she had gotten frustrated lately and partly was that she was not connecting with the messages. She also stated how that she knows she needs to do right and not wrong (these are more my words now) but just wasn’t feeling satisfied.
Is the goal of preaching to try to get people to do right and not do wrong?
It seems like some of the major emphases of preaching would be:
- to make known God’s will to us as displayed within scripture
- to teach, rebuke/reproof, correct and train in righteousness
- to show off the Word – that is Jesus Christ
A response to this could be, but isn’t Jesus perfect? And if we live to be like Jesus, aren’t we practicing doing right and not doing wrong?
Practically it would seem the answer is yes.
But I know that we can NEVER live up to God’s standard of perfection with the law, or even live up to the life that Jesus demonstrated. Any humanly attempt at gaining favor with God will be useless … both before and after life in Christ. With Jesus we have the grace given us that no longer puts the hammer down on our lives when we do sin. However with Jesus, we have the ability to say “no” to sin and ourselves.
It would be stressful to always go to a church that states the “to do’s and not to do’s”. Don’t get me wrong, there is a responsibility to confront sin in it’s various and twisted forms. I think even more stressful would be the idea that Jesus came to save us in order that we do right and wrong!
I think preaching should always point to Jesus in some way and some manner. And I mean ALL of scripture preaching. Think about it … one of the things that Jesus did after he died was spend time with a couple of gentlemen on the road to Emmaus and explaining beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27 ). Some believers nowadays see no reason to have Old Testament preaching done at all because it is no longer relevant to us, yet Jesus decided to exclusively use it – mainly because there was no New Testament
If preaching is pointing us to Jesus, what is a proper response? I believe to try and connect with him … an actual, cerebral and/or emotional connection. I also believe as we develop this relation with him, that we will understand our new nature … certainly that we were a broken people and that with Jesus we are restored. We have new hope within us! Hope that tells us that we don’t have to live like we are filled with sin, that we are accepted by God, not because of things we have done, but things he has done.
To preach and know Jesus is enough.
Here is a new site for the Men of New Harvest Church
Stolen from another blog at www.churchrelevance.com
I found this to be an interesting article. We have the responsibility of being different in the world, yet relevant. Could you imagine Jesus having come to earth being just one or the other? If he were just different (or holy), then we wouldn’t have been able to stand him. If he were just relevant, then … well … who’d care? But he was God in the flesh, come down to spend time with fools like you and me … and for that I am glad.
Enjoy this article … please discuss by sharing a comment … yes, even those of you who secretly just read the posts.
At Q, David Kinnaman, president of The Barna Group, shared the results of new research that investigated how young non-Christians perceive Christianity.
How Christianity is Perceived
Non-Christians aged 16-29 years old were asked, “What is your current perception of Christianity?”
91% said antihomosexual
87% said judgmental
85% said hypocritical
78% said old-fashioned
75% said too involved in politics
72% said out of touch with reality
70% said insensitive to others
Present-day Christianity is no longer like Jesus intended.
84% of non-Christians are friends with Christians, but 15% say the lifestyle of the Christians they know is not different.
The Truth About Christians
The top priority of Christians is not to sin, etc.
40% (roughly) of Christians want to see homosexual teachers fired from schools
40% (roughly) of Christians would rather support cancer research than AIDS research
We are much clearer with the sin of homosexuality than we are with the sin of divorce, but only 1% of Christians have prayed to address what they believe is the problem with homosexuality.
It is not us versus them but us versus us.
Matthew 23:13 (The Message) I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God’s kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won’t let anyone else in either.
Hypocrites hurt the gospel.
The Truth About Non-Christians
80% (roughly) of non-Christians have attended a church for 3 months in their life
50% (roughly) of non-Christians have considered becoming a Christian
Many decided against Christianity because of their experiences in church. We are losing Christianity’s attraction in our culture.
Among Non-Christians Aged 16-29
3% have a favorable view of evangelicals
33% have a favorable view of homosexuals
Among Non-Christian Baby Boomers (born between ‘46 & ‘64)
25% have a favorable view of evangelicals
13% have a favorable view of homosexuals
Among Non-Christian Elders (born before ‘46)
27% have a favorable view of evangelicals
11% have a favorable view of homosexuals
What Churches Need to Do
Unfortunately, many churches are creating an arrogant image. Do we forget that it was God’s kindness that saved us? Instead of focusing on flaws, focus on potential.
The church needs to stop being “in your face” and start focusing on service, sacrifice, humility, and grace.
Ask yourself these three questions:
Are we cultivating a heart for outsiders?
What kind of Jesus are we to outsiders?
How can we become know as true Christ followers?
We had a church picnic and baptism this past weekend that went pretty well. To start off with, there was a forecast for showers. We kept praying that it wouldn’t rain (in fact quite a few families didn’t go because of the threat of wetness). That morning it rained, the afternoon came and the family and I headed over towards the park. And … what a site on the way!
The clouds were to the east and south of us, and the sun on the north and west.
When we got there… barely could see any clouds at all!
All in all, 11 were baptized – a public display of affection for Jesus, and a way to identify with his death, burial and resurrection.
Here is a link to the flickr site.