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Old 03-12-2007, 01:15 PM   #31
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Originally posted by coemgen
I think he's at an odd spot because he's like a celebrity. I don't think he's in the same vein as a TV evangelist, and I think he's in it all for the right reasons and he's genuine, but being a pastor and a celebrity can't be good for the church or for him. At the very least it can't make things easy.
I agree. I was disappointed I didn't get to hear him. I hope he's able to continue using his success to promote God above himself and his church (not that that's what I think he's doing, but it happens fairly easily).

As for his church - I didn't like it, but I knew I wasn't going to. It was very "me"-focused, rather than God-focused. It was all about personal spiritual renewal. The sermon/message was basically the guest pastor's testimonial. I prefer a sermon that is based on some Scriptural text, contains good exegesis (that the pastor has done, not just reading out of commentaries), and offers some conclusion about what it says regarding the relationship between God and people. I've always felt that testimonials are more appropriate in a small group setting, or as a different part of the church service (like many churches will do "minute for missions" when a visiting missionary will give a brief talk about his/her experience). When I'm in church, I prefer a very reverent atmosphere. I am there for GOD, not myself. Church is not about making Christianity relevant to ME, but about making my life relevant to God's plan. I like to look forward and see a big cross and the symbols of the sacraments, not a person in jeans with a spotlight on him/her and a band.

I think it all boils down to personal preference. I don't think one way of worship is better or worse than the other. There are some churches that I will never feel comfortable in, but I don't think they are un-Christian. I'd rather have this than ask every church to compromise for everyone.
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Old 03-12-2007, 01:32 PM   #32
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I am there for GOD, not myself. Church is not about making Christianity relevant to ME, but about making my life relevant to God's plan.
This is awesome.

Amen.
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Old 03-12-2007, 01:38 PM   #33
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This is awesome.

Amen.
Thanks, it's my personal credo. In a high school religion class we had a huge debate over relativism, and that was the conclusion I came to and try my best to live by.
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Old 03-12-2007, 01:55 PM   #34
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With my wife we've gone to a Lutheran Church called Hope in West Des Moines (Iowa). I guess it's the fastest growing Lutheran Church in the world. It's impossible to even get a seat now at this church. They're expanding every where it seems in IA.
Mike Householder is the lead Pastor, and is a incredible speaker and motivator.

The church is a modern one, it starts out with the rock band playing with the words on the HUGE screens. Then prayer, greeting, more songs (during donations), and then the sermon.

The sermon will consist of Mike or whoever speaking, and showing us clips of movies, pictures, scripture, all of which tie into the sermon.

I will admit the first time I went I thought it was refreshing from the old Catholic mass I used to attend a long time ago. But after a while it started to grow stale as well. It seemed like they wanted to show off, rather than just tell a story.

Like what has been mentioned earlier, it feels very weird even going up to Pastor Mike or the others They're almost treated like Rock Stars. Also, WDM is a very rich and upscale part of town, and people there are already snobby. I don't really like seeing some of that snobbieness rub off in church. I also wonder if some of these people are just coming to this church to be seen.

We're at a crossroads right now. I think my wife and I are going to try and find another church. For starters, now that she lives with me, we're farther away from Hope, and we're not sure we want to drive 25 minutes to the other side of town to get crappy seats. I'm not sure I want to go to another modern church though. I'd like to find someone that is a great speaker and doesn't need fancy tech stuff.

I guess there is another church out where I live that has a 2 hour service! I sometimes can't make it 45 minutes, 2 hours is horrible. I guess the church starts with 1 hour of music, then 1 hour of sermon. I've also heard that they leave the first 2-3 rows empty, so if you decide to skip the first hour, they walk you to the front. Plays into some fears of having to be seen in front of everyone. I personally don't like it. I also wouldn't mind being sat down in front. I don't like church music, so I have no problem skipping the first hour.

One last note, what I find really funny going to this church is to watch the people's reactions during the songs. Most people will sing, maybe sway a little. Then there are the folks who put both of their arms in the air and look like they're about to be shot up into a space ship.

I have nothing about getting lost in the music, but sometimes I wonder if these people are just doing it for show. Maybe I'm just different. When music moves me, I tend to close my eyes and just absorb it all. It's still funny to see someone lose it though.
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Old 03-12-2007, 03:36 PM   #35
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:09 PM   #36
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I would say that it all comes down to what people's motivations are in their hearts when it comes to different styles of worship. I was a worship leader for about 2 years. We had a worship band and we sang a mix of styles including everything from hymns to "contemporary" rock stuff. For me, it had nothing to do with "showing off" or being a rock star. For that 30 minutes, I was able to make a very real and personal connection between me and God, and hopefully, help create an atmosphere where everyone could feel that same connection. For me, music is one of the ways I feel closest to God. I can't say that everybody who leads "contemporary worship" feels the same way, just as not everyone who is singing a traditional hymn is always in a reverential state of mind. But, for me, it really all comes down to your heart and whether you really mean the words you're singing, whatever tune they're attached to. Otherwise, there isn't really much of a point, imho.
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:29 PM   #37
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Quote:
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"Religion is a club" - Zoo TV
This can be so true. Good point. That's why it's important to understand the difference between religion and the relationship.
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:35 AM   #38
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Originally posted by Shaliz
For me, it had nothing to do with "showing off" or being a rock star.
Didn't want to imply that everyone who plays in the band or leads a church is showing off by having a more modern flavor to their services.

I was making the point about "Rock Stars" in that I feel very uncomfortable when any of the Pastors come around. It's the same feeling when you see someone famous, in that you're a little star struck. I don't want that feeling. How am I to tell this person my feelings or anything remotely personal if I can't have even the slightest connection to start?

As for the church I've gone to, I really believe some of these people show off. That doesn't mean every person who loses themselves is selfish, but in talking to some of these people outside of the church (usually at bars or resturants) they don't say much about their experience with God, it's more about, "Yeah, I go to Hope. What a great place. I was one of the original members..."

Sorry to give the impression that everyone in the modern church services are in it for themselves.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:01 AM   #39
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I've worshipped in both contexts. I have found that if I focus on the pastor and the message in the songs, I can worship in both kinds of styles. I like both traditional and contempory songs. I like the pure emotion of some contemporary hymns and the contemplative feel of many traditional.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:58 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by BEAL


Didn't want to imply that everyone who plays in the band or leads a church is showing off by having a more modern flavor to their services.

I was making the point about "Rock Stars" in that I feel very uncomfortable when any of the Pastors come around. It's the same feeling when you see someone famous, in that you're a little star struck. I don't want that feeling. How am I to tell this person my feelings or anything remotely personal if I can't have even the slightest connection to start?

As for the church I've gone to, I really believe some of these people show off. That doesn't mean every person who loses themselves is selfish, but in talking to some of these people outside of the church (usually at bars or resturants) they don't say much about their experience with God, it's more about, "Yeah, I go to Hope. What a great place. I was one of the original members..."

Sorry to give the impression that everyone in the modern church services are in it for themselves.
That's okay, BEAL. I'm way too over sensitive about this whole issue right now, and I really should have stayed out of this discussion. No hard feelings. I do understand what you're saying about feeling that pastors and other leaders can seem unapproachable, especially in a larger church. Sorry for misinterpreting what you were saying.
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Old 03-17-2007, 03:29 PM   #41
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Wow this is an interesting thread! I have been thinking alot about this issue lately. Thanks for your long quote Liesje. I think you read my mind. I go to a more traditional church that I really enjoy. Our church has been going through a "growing process" over the past few years, with a head pastor change. While I think a period of hardship is good for every church to go through from time to time, the changes have taken a toll on the membership. My husband and I are in our late 20s and are now one of the fewer "young" couples left in our church. A new contemporary church began close by and took most of our young population with it. With all the praise about this new church we thought we would check it out and I was astonished about what happened. While the worship was great, I almost felt like I was there to be entertainied. The pastor was 27 and there were tons of videos and skits played on the screen for us. While the gospel was clearly presented which is critical, the message was topical where the pastor picked a topic and pulled verses to relate to his message. This of course is fine to do, but I don't think every Sunday. which from my impression what was happening.

I left with mixed emotions. I am thankful that the church is such a draw for young new believers and non-believers alike. It is very relevant to our culture and is a church that is "cool" to be at. I am thankful that the gospel was clearly presented.

BUT

I left feeling a bit uncomfortable wondering if this is what my generation and the generations younger need in a church service? Does the church need the powerpoint, the young paster with cool stories, the cool looking worship band with the relevant songs in order for us to come on a weekly basis? I hope not. I hope that is not where the church is heading. We are entertained by so many mediums 24 hours a day..is it now going to be nessesary for a Sunday worship service as well?

Just some thoughts. Our church is doing much better now. We have an amazing pastor who will be teaching Acts for 2 years. So excited witness the healing power in that.
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Old 03-18-2007, 02:33 PM   #42
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Well, the ones I've been to tend to want to whip up lots of emotion and crapola and all that, so that the pastor feels like he's doing something. Just my crusty cranky take on it. :grin: Makes me twitch. Fortunately baha'i's tend not to want to do that, and try to keep it short, so they don't bore people. And they don't break out the guilt trip if you're tired and leave early. They want to make you WANT to return, and have sussed out spending half the day cooped up in the building is not always a good thing. There's a lot of emphasis on going out and living the teachings. That's vastly more important to them than sitting inside reading and reading and reading..even for people who like to read, it can be a bit much. I'm trying my darndest to get around my anti-Church bias, though...it isn't the bible that annoys me - it's the people who expect me to be overly excited at the thought of being crammed into tight spaces with them that annoy me. I channel Mullen - 'If you can see the tattoo, you're too close.' Well, in my case, if you can see whether I wore the same shirt I wore last week, you're too close. Heh.
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Old 03-18-2007, 02:58 PM   #43
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Well, the ones I've been to tend to want to whip up lots of emotion and crapola and all that, so that the pastor feels like he's doing something. Just my crusty cranky take on it. :grin: Makes me twitch. Fortunately baha'i's tend not to want to do that, and try to keep it short, so they don't bore people. And they don't break out the guilt trip if you're tired and leave early. They want to make you WANT to return, and have sussed out spending half the day cooped up in the building is not always a good thing. There's a lot of emphasis on going out and living the teachings. That's vastly more important to them than sitting inside reading and reading and reading..even for people who like to read, it can be a bit much. I'm trying my darndest to get around my anti-Church bias, though...it isn't the bible that annoys me - it's the people who expect me to be overly excited at the thought of being crammed into tight spaces with them that annoy me. I channel Mullen - 'If you can see the tattoo, you're too close.' Well, in my case, if you can see whether I wore the same shirt I wore last week, you're too close. Heh.
Just out of curiosity, what denomination is this? The longest Christian service I've ever attended was 2 hours. One was a small family church that they started on their own and the other was an Evangelical Lutheran service in Tanzania (some of those people walked for miles and miles barefoot, so the service better have enough substance to make it worth it!).

If the church you tried takes up half the day, I'd definitely switch! It's sad they are turning people off to religion simply because of the length of their service. It sounds rather odd, IMO.
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Old 03-18-2007, 04:23 PM   #44
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I am kind of in a strange position on this topic myself. My parents are all HUGE into contemporary worship. In fact, my mother cannot go to a church that doesn't have guitars/drums etc. without saying something like she "feels the devil in the place." Pretty ridiculous...

Both my sisters are worship leaders in their respective churches/colleges. And my brother gets off b/c where he lives only has very conservative churches.

Now, I am married to Liesje/Livluvandbootlegmusic and you can read where she stands. So when I go to church with her, you probably can guess what type of service we go to. And that is fine with me.

But to my family, I am the bad apple. In fact, I am pretty sure that people from Wisconsin to Texas are all praying for me because my mom asked them to, thinking I need prayer for whatever reason...

I grew up playing drums in church. And I enjoyed it so much for many reasons. I don't think it is wrong to play the drums or guitar in church. I simply don't play now because of where I am in my life. And that has honestly put a huge strain on my relationship with my mom. "I'm not using my gifts", she says.

So I guess I don't have an answer because I am still sorting a lot of this all out in my head. But let me ask you this. Why would I ever want to be a part of a church that looks at me differently because I do not follow suit? Are we not worshipping the same God?
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Old 03-18-2007, 05:58 PM   #45
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I grew up playing drums in church. And I enjoyed it so much for many reasons. I don't think it is wrong to play the drums or guitar in church. I simply don't play now because of where I am in my life. And that has honestly put a huge strain on my relationship with my mom. "I'm not using my gifts", she says.
And this is where she and I butt heads. I have gifts too. Making PowerPoints is ironically one of them, since I help people with this everyday at work. I'm also pretty good at walking on my hands, doing tricks on a balance beam, and flipping on the trampoline. So should I reject any church that doesn't welcome gymnastics equipment as part of their Order of Worship? Now I love Phil's mom and I think we get along great, but this is one of those things where I can't really see where she's coming from because any way I look at it, it sound ridiculous. I don't want to get into a personal family debate here, but it seems like most of the people that also hold the opinion of Phil's mother only consider certain skills gifts worthy of performing in church. To them it's like music is the only gift that is holy. I really love music, but I'm a terrible singer and I just don't enjoy belting out praise hymns in front of everyone, but to many people at their contemporary church, they look at me and think I'm stuck up and snotty because I'm not singing along. Have they ever thought that just maybe it's because 1) I don't know the words, 2) I don't know the tune and their church NEVER provides any music to read from, and 3) I'm self conscious about singing because I don't feel like I'm that good? I bet they'd look pretty out of place if I invited them to the gym and asked them to start throwing front layouts on the trampoline. Then I could point and say they are just stuck up when they don't do it.

Church services are just not the appropriate place for everyone's individual displays of their gifts and talents. LIFE in general is a better venue for that. For me, church is about meditation, renewal, reverence, praise, etc. All of these things challenge us to make God a more active part of our lives. How does everyone getting up on stage doing a talent show in front of church reflect the awesomeness of God?
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