I decided to go to an Easter service this morning at a Christian church. I checked out the church that the majority of the people involved in the food for the homeless program seem to go to, and actually, it was an “OK” experience. What really strikes me though is how hard they were trying to be something that they were not.
It is kind of sad really. It was one of those churches, that we find more and more these days, that are trying to do all the other cool things that seem to be working for some “other” church, but just not quite as good.
They read, saw, or heard about some church that has a great audio visual (AV) gift, and is reaching people with all their cool projections and nifty little presentations. So they try it here as well, but to no real avail.
Why? Well, not only is this a different demographic of people, and region, but also… you do not have the same gifted group of people operating in those God-given talents, nor the budget or equipment to really pull this off. Besides, just because God may (or may not be) “moving” that way in one church in say Texas, does not mean that we can mimic the Holy Spirit in a new region with the same sequence of events.
Maybe you could say “Who cares if it is professional or not?”, but seriously… why do something so half-assed for God? Do it right or don’t do it at all. Don’t your people have their own gifts and talents that can be used to do their “own thing” that is unique to your congregation? Learn what that is and develop it instead of trying to copy what others are doing. If not, you are not really helping these people develop and grow; instead, you are setting them up for failures.
I swear the preacher only preached for less than 10 minutes in order to fit all this media into the service and still get us all out in time.
Finally, we move onto a freestyle poetry reading… that they saw another church do online and downloaded the poem from, then gave to his daughter to read.
It was a well written poem, but it was not deliveredby a person who knows how to do spoken word properly. She stressed all the wrong areas of the poem, so none of it wound up having the correct rhythm or rhyme to it that was intended. Say that we have the words “far from justice” in the first sentence and in the second sentence we have it ending with the word “car”; the speaker would put emphasis on “far” and then “car”. This person though would stress the word “justice” and then “car”.
Is this just me being cruel? No. No it is not.
If you are going to use media, skits, or the arts in your church then do it well. Do it very well. You can’t go to some church in Seattle that has a great poet there who was inspired to write and deliver a poem to his or her church, but then copy that poem and put it in the hands of your poor kid to redo in your church; no more than you can see a talented painter paint in his church for God and then stick a brush in your secretaries hands and tell her that she’s doing it next week.
Be yourselves. You are all fearfullyand wonderfully made. Who cares if you do what the others are doing? Why even want to be like all the others? Are we seriously out of all of our own ideas? Do we want to take so little time to invest and trust in our own communities giftings? Or do we think that God really is some formula that can be reproduced from town to town so easily?
The funny thing is that I still consider it to be an “OK” experience, and that I may go back. Why? Despite all this other stuff that was probably meantto impress people like me (or maybe just entertain themselves) I was greeted there warmly and genuinely. A few people there, in this large church, actually noticed me and really took the time to say hello and make me feel welcome there. It was sincere. I could tell.
I feel sorry for them though as a body more than I am ripping on them for all this media nonsense. There should not be so much pressure and emphasis on all of this media junk. It doesn’t impress anyone really, and it is outside of your gifts and abilities. There are people there I bet who are just dying to be noticed and to use their talents… not the ones copied from another, larger, more successful church model.
Besides, I was just happy that someone greeted me properly and made sure I sat in a good place.
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