IC Journey

Anyone Want to Chime In On This?

Posted in Church Life by LJ Johnson on April 21, 2014

Totally off the topic of coping with chronic illness.  Well, mostly.  In the real world, my life isn’t just about chronic illness.  It might touch every part of my life, but it isn’t my life.

I am an active Christian in a very small church, and I do a lot with music ministry, and will start teaching Sunday school in May.  Our church has been struggling for a long time now as it attempts to modernize.  It is, unfortunately, a church that tends to be a bit literal in its Scripture application in some areas, so many of the older people feel quite upset when you change things, like the order of the service, or what kind of music is sung, or if, heaven forbid, a woman might offer a prayer audibly in public.

We have been working towards change though, and towards the freedom that we are called to.  Today a very creative, beautiful service – one that you can ponder over and find meaning from throughout the coming week – was performed by two families who worked very hard together to put it together.  Probably about five or six times the amount of time of the service was spent planning everything, choosing music, choosing what would be said, etc.

However, even though I, as the main music minister, often lead a contemporary praise and worship “interlude” (our compromise – the traditionalists get the hymns, etc., during “church” proper, but in the time between services, anyone interested in “newer” music gets to join me singing contemporary praise and worship songs that are put up on a projector screen), for some reason when other people, along with teenagers, did the same thing without praise tracks or instruments (we are a small congregation, and I have worked with the youth and we have a kind of praise team together, but without my keyboard they kind of fall apart, and I injured my wrist in December and just had wrist surgery, so no actual instrumental, singing praise team for now), it caused all kinds of havoc.

Not that they did anything wrong – it was all RIGHT.

No, for some reason, the same music, performed by different people, was suddenly the most horrible thing that ever could happen in a church!

I’m completely unable to understand this.  What an adult female can do another adult female and two teens cannot?  Or was it that they used the regular recordings because they were uncomfortable with other forms of music (praise tracks or attempting to play instruments and sing at the same time)?  Or that one of the songs was a recording from a concert instead of studio?

I left the church this Sunday feeling so much joy and freedom!  Then the phone calls came (I am in charge of scheduling music).  I end up confused and a little sad by the people who felt so compelled to control what happened that they spent so much time finding fault that they never even heard the message.

He is risen!  He has conquered death, sin and the grave!  We are free, covered in the enormous sacrifice He made.

For some reason, I don’t think He would have been the least bit upset to see us clapping in celebration, or raising our hands and worshiping with our whole selves.  I think, if anything, those worshipers probably made Him smile.  He might have even clapped, just a bit, with them.


6 Responses

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  1. taylormurray said, on April 21, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    That’s frustrating… Sometimes you can’t do anything but just keep trying.. Most-likely, though, it’s not going to change (much) until they all die off. Or until you’ve changed it so much that they just leave.

    I would recommend you get an advocate or two from the old guard… They’ll be able to say what you’ve wanted to say, but be heard…

  2. ic2manywords said, on April 21, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    This has been an eye-opening Sunday. For two years the praise and worship I have offered has been limited by the older people, who would have special requests, like “only one new song every month, and never more than one song we don’t know really well on a given Sunday.” They have been limiting, and ultimately stifled much of the leading of the Spirit in that ministry. They gave me only 12 minutes a week, dictated what they would allow to be sung, etc., etc.

    I do have some support in the old guard, but when the church is already so small having even one eighty-year-old person storm up to.you.and have them say, “turn it off or I am leaving,” and then watching them walk out the door tears at your heart. No Believer is worth more than another, and I am often perplexed that the older mature believers are not more invested in making worship something which attracts younger people and keeps them interested (and ultimately invested). As a Christian myself, I choose to be like Paul, being a fool for Christ, and Jew for the Jew, Gentile for the Gentile, Greek for the Greek. If I need multimedia and text messages to reach this generation’s culture for Christ, then so be it. The cost is too important for me to try to make them carbon copies of me.

    • taylormurray said, on April 21, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      Yeah.. But sometimes by trying to “keep” one you’re missing out on countless others. And ultimately, you’re just prolonging the inevitable. The attitude of people like that is more divisive than anything. If you’re being abrasive and trying to drive them out, that’s one thing. But if their leaving is simply out of anger about something a little too progressive… That’s wrong, and you don’t want to stress to keep them around.

      • ic2manywords said, on April 22, 2014 at 12:23 am

        We have lost most of the really abrasive people. Took almost half the congregation with them, which has left behind a shell-shocked remnant that is still in mourning.

        I have been working with part of the youth over a year trying to teach them to follow along with fake books and tab, and they have performed and led worship once or twice. It led them to say they would go to church if I took over as Sunday School teacher. I struggle with health issues (the big part of this blog), so I am not as consistent as I would like. I know we just met, but I would be thrilled to have your prayers as we grow from this small group into what God is calling us to.

      • taylormurray said, on April 22, 2014 at 12:27 am

        absolutely. with ya!

  3. ic2manywords said, on April 22, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Thank you so much, Taylor. My name is Lisa. I live in rural Missouri about an hour from Kansas City with husband turned pastor, son, 5 guinea fowl, 30ish chickens, 13 goats, 3 horses (after we pick up tomorrow’s two), 5 cats and 3 dogs. I want to bring youth to an unshakable faith in God by teaching apologetics as well as addressing them with a faith example that resonates with their understanding and culture. I love everyone.

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