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on excelent church services and realness March 21, 2007

Posted by Cobus in church, Emerging Church, theology, Youth Ministry.

The whole baby thing yesterday reminded me about something else that’s been bothering me a lot lately. It’s kind of the hip-thing in our church these days to go for excelent church services. In the name of “we must give our best to the Lord”, a well-polished end product becomes the objective, and we judge it in the same manner we judge a theatre show, movie or concert.

I’m currently part of a congregation which can most propably boast with some of the most excelent church services this country can provide. Music is provided by one of the, if not the, best performing organists in the country, together with a number of usually music students, some of them on post-graduate level. Professional musicians. Usually a cello, some violins, a piano, vocals and some other instument which differ from week to week. But a lot of people who would like to play, whether in the classical group or the more contemporary group, are simply not goof enough, they don’t make the auditions, or gets pushed out in a subtle way.

Early in this year, I helped the congregation where I  grew up with a camp. It was a very small camp, 20 high school kids, 5 students and 2 adults. We asked some of the upcoming guitarists to lead the music for us. They were all about 16 years old. And it really was kind of a mess, if you looked from the outside. We worked without a sound system, because we felt that would be better, since we wanted to experience the small group thing, the transparencies (yes, we didn’t have a video projector) were not always up in time. Sometimes we waited quite a while between songs. etc etc. That was the sunday morning…

That sunday evening we I was back in my current congregation, where we had the welcoming service for the new first years. This was huge! We had a big classical group, and a big contemporary group all linked up. Different songs were done by different groups, and we ended with a massive climax where everyone joined in. It was really excelent, but that morning, was real, really real. Yes, I know you guys will be reading, and I want you to know I think you did an awsome job that morning. Keep on working on the guitars and the music.

Picture a courtroom. Some of us think of the church similar to a courtroom. There we have to say the exact right things, phrase everything right, and make these mayor speeches.

Picture a theatre. Some of us think of the church similar to a theatre. There we need a well polished performance, professional art, and most important, our theatre need to be better than the next.

Now picture the church as community, as friendship. Yes, I want you to do your best. But I’d rather sing along with my friend and his 6 chords than hire a musician.

But then, in a church of 2000 people, who will be the friend…?



1. sunette - March 22, 2007

There’s nothing wrong with having a huge, amazing service with semi-professionals and I usually enjoy these services. But, I was there on that Sunday morning and it really was real. There were no pretences and no reputations or anything to uphold. We sang from the heart and, honoustly, the guitars weren’t that bad at all. The important thing has to be praising God, singing from the heart and, like you said, being a friend and keeping it real.

2. Annemarie - March 22, 2007

You’re not helping my self-esteem a lot 😉

Anyway, that whole camp was an amazing experience. To this day when we see each other we smile and say hi. To everyone that helped, just wanna say thx. It was great. Being behind one of the guitars and hearing the people sing from their hearts was absolutely amazing. Just the thought that we were all singing to the same God was probably the best thing, because, we were all there. Different people with different friends and different backgrounds, all singing to the glory of the one and only God. 🙂

3. aventer - March 23, 2007

Just something to add on my previous comment.

Being a big group can be very disprupting, but was you have the necessary respect in that relationship, it’s as if everything just smooths out

4. Bernardvw - March 25, 2007

Thanks. Any guitarist like to know that their playing was enjoyd. Personally I feel you(cobus) did just as big a job getting us to where we are now. Hope we can camp together shortly

I think that even in a friendship, we can always try to be better than we are. Not trying to be better than other, but just to be good. For me playing at that camp was a great experience. I know I have much to learn, but that are what friendships are for, to play, everybody knows what mistakes you made, but hey, what does that matter afterall, because next time you will be better

5. Steve - April 3, 2007

Something also to be asked, perhaps — is it for the glory of God or the glory of man?

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