Monday, March 31, 2014

Music driven by Complaints or mission in context... an interesting article and a continual challange.

 A facebook friend posted a link to an article by Ed Stetzer on worship music. I appreciate Ed Stetzer's insights and have valued some of his books in the past... mainly 'Comeback Churches 2007 (written with Mike Dodson ) and Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age' 2003. Both of which I have read when I have found myself ministering in a church planting situation and in working in a comeback church.
The article referred to the concept of multiple services based on different worshipping styles. All my church life I have been involved in music (not bad for a non musician really) and trying to connect worship with emerging generations of New Zealanders. Which means everything from the new wave of seniors through to postmodern youth of various eras and cultural tribes.  I agree with Stetzers
's critique of church life...
"Throughout history, the Church has condemned forms (of music) until they become mainstream. Culture changes, and the church eventually says, "that's OK". we were just kidding that whole time. Sorry we drove out a whole generation."
Unfortunately, churches, when given the choice to do so, will choose their traditions over their children. We've seen it time and time again."
I also agree with many people who talk about gravitating to the new simply because it is new rather than evaluating its worth.
But Stetzer is right the question that needs to be asked is what fits the Missional context in which I find myself now...rather than what do I simply like. In a recent publication by the Anglican Church in England called "From Anticdote To Evidence" that came out of a two year study of Anglican Churches that were growing... The conclusion was that worship styles were not as important as the thought and intentionality that goes into worship itself. Another factors when it came to worship styles were an openness to change and give things a go, A focus on those outside the church rather than simply those inside and an awareness of the need to minister to children and youth.
One of the problems of plotting the course of the blended style (which we are)... which we say is an inspirational blend of the best of the new with the best of our tradition is that as a smallish church that is growing in terms of an older congregation and young families is that while it can stretch to meet both those demographics is that it leaves you open to the problem of standing in the middle of the road... you are likely to get hit by traffic coming from both directions. and criticism can become the pressure rather than mission.
One of the metaphors I use from New Zealand life is the 21st parties I've been to down through the years. Where many different generations of the family have gathered together to celebrate the great event. The younger ones are usually out in the garage, which has been converted into an extra room, with coloured lights and a loud stereo. The aunties and older relatives sit in the lounge together and if there is music on its easy listening. and the parent aged people are in the kitchen working away. The family is together and they are all celebrating the same thing and gather together for he meal. But somehow they manage to do it in a way that meets all the different requirements.

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