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Old 07-15-2006, 01:13 AM   #1
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Your Ideas on Alternative Christian Worship Services

I'm not thinking about what is called 'contemporary worship'

but something very alternative / different

Our local Chistian community is about to start once a month services and I would like to hear your thoughts / idea/ suggestions



Thank you
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:16 AM   #2
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:17 AM   #3
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What exactly is an alternative form of worship?
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:20 AM   #4
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:20 AM   #5
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Some more detail may be in order...
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Old 07-15-2006, 02:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Are we talking snakes?

okay - I admit - that cracked me up...
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Old 07-15-2006, 02:11 AM   #7
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Old 07-15-2006, 08:21 PM   #8
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Personally, I prefer a more traditional worship style because I believe the worship/spiritual aspect of a church should be one of reverence and reflection, not performance. However, any church that is devoted to fostering a sense of community and the accountibility of its members while genuinely worshipping the Lord is just fine by me. I'm not about to condemn churches just because I choose not to go there.

In the US, we are lucky to have so many choices. People I know often complain about how hard it is to go "church shopping" to find the church where you fit in best, but in many countries, worshipping in ANY form can get you killed.
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Old 07-16-2006, 03:36 AM   #9
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I grew up in house churches, where the focus of the time was on each other. Relational meetings as opposed to programmed ones, stripped-down worship with acoustic guitars as opposed to band stuff.
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Old 07-16-2006, 01:27 PM   #10
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One thing I've noticed about big, planned out services is that the focus often seems to shift towards everything fitting together and causing others to "fee" than what it's really meant for--God.
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Old 07-16-2006, 02:01 PM   #11
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What do you mean by "big, planned out services"?

I ask because I've always gone to a very traditional church and we are often accused of worshipping as such.

I just spent a few hours at a new, contemporary church that during the offering was playing a video where people were accusing the larger, traditional churches of being "surface" and more concerned with form than content. The funny thing is, at this new church, I felt like an actor trying to fit into a script. I mean, they even give you an outline of the sermon, with fill-in-the-blanks! I spent most of the time trying to figure out when not to sing because there was going to be the weekly drum solo, when it was expected to raise my hands, and how many people I had to hug until I was "accepted" than just quietly and reverently reflecting on God's word as it was interpreted by the preaching minister. Talk about a big, planned out service! Sure, my church back home follows the traditional Order of Worship, but our music leadership doesn't have to spend a week rehearsing for the next service and we're not expected to follow word-for-word outlines of the morning's message.
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Old 07-16-2006, 09:07 PM   #12
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Well, sometimes at the church I attended a while back they'd put so much effort into making the worship service look big, epic and emotional in a way that it kind of took the focus off of God IMO. At least in my mind it did, and others have told me the same thing. It seemed to me as if there was a little too much effort showing off the music pastor's daughter's operatic voice and children's singing and dancing numbers (gotta please the parents and grandparents) and not enough on just focusing attention on God and getting closer in mind and spirit to him. It got to the point where every other week almost felt ike a Christian variety show.

Also during sermons the preacher seemed to spend so much time elaborating on analogies using powerpoint, silly pictures, movie quotes, stories etc. etc. that I felt like I was being treated like a baby. By the time the sermon was over I'd rarely feel like I'd learned something new that I could aply to me life. I'd just be reminded of simple Biblical truths that maybe new baby Christians would learn.

Looks like we had similar experiences heh heh. I also filled out the note by notes on the sermon. I amost felt like a child.
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Old 07-16-2006, 09:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
What do you mean by "big, planned out services"?

I ask because I've always gone to a very traditional church and we are often accused of worshipping as such.

I just spent a few hours at a new, contemporary church that during the offering was playing a video where people were accusing the larger, traditional churches of being "surface" and more concerned with form than content. The funny thing is, at this new church, I felt like an actor trying to fit into a script. I mean, they even give you an outline of the sermon, with fill-in-the-blanks! I spent most of the time trying to figure out when not to sing because there was going to be the weekly drum solo, when it was expected to raise my hands, and how many people I had to hug until I was "accepted" than just quietly and reverently reflecting on God's word as it was interpreted by the preaching minister. Talk about a big, planned out service! Sure, my church back home follows the traditional Order of Worship, but our music leadership doesn't have to spend a week rehearsing for the next service and we're not expected to follow word-for-word outlines of the morning's message.
I agree with you 100%. I don't like the new style of worship, to be honest. A lot of the time, they seem like big dramatic productions, and it is often the word of God that gets lost in the chaos. I am not saying that every contemporary church is this way, just many that I have been to. If I want big dramatic productions, I'll watch a movie or a play.
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Old 07-17-2006, 12:17 AM   #14
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I had a great talk with my fiance today after the big, contemporary service, complete with powerpoint, video, a drama, and a band (yes, they played solos). This is the gist of what I tried to articulate, this is why I, personally, prefer my more traditional, reverent service:

1) Contemporary Christian Music (CCM)
- most people that are avid supporters of CCM, especially CCM used during church aren't even aware of where this form of music came from and what the purpose of this music was. I won't get into it here because it would deserve it's own thread, but if you want a GREAT overview from a pretty objective perspective, read Charlie Peacock's "At the Crossroads". CCM WAS NEVER intended to be used during church services.

- All of the churches I've been to that use exclusively CCM during their services are also turnoffs because they NEVER provide the music, only lyrics on PowerPoint. Sorry, but if I've never heard a song before, especially a shitty one that has zero logical chord progression and inconsistent harmony, there's no WAY I can even try to sing along without the music.

- I have never been and will never be a fan of a performance style of worship music. Church is about being reverent before God; everyone is on a level playing field. I don't want to see soloists and a band and "music leaders". I want to sing, with everyone else, a musical piece based on cannonized Scriptures.

2) PowerPoints

- I hate powerpoints in church. It's mainly a very personal reason: I'm a computer HelpDesk technician, so I deal with incompetant people asking zillions of questions about powerpoints on a daily basis. The LAST thing I want to do during a church service - a time of reflection and renewal - is stare at a powerpoint screen!!!

- I once attended a lecture on the place of powerpoint and other visual media during church services. I don't remember much, but I remember it really striking a chord with me and agreeing with the basic premise - like ANY presentation, the powerpoint should only enhance the service and provide a visual example of something that simply cannot be communicated in any other form. To date, I have yet to attend a service that actually achieves this. I DONT want a re-cap of the Scripture reading, I DONT want an outline of the sermon, I DONT want some random clip-arts posing as a half-assed analogy. Powerpoint is visual media, and just like other visual media, it is a form of art, which is a gift from God. To use it so liberally, ignorantly, and lazily is not only annoying, but actually offensive to me.

3) Fill-in-the-blank sermons - I don't like these at all because to me they are very distracting. I mean this in two ways:

a) When I have a fill-in-the-blank sermon, I tend to be reading ahead, or listen to the sermon, focusing on catching the next point on the outline, ticking them off in my head. It's distracting because it keeps me from simply sitting back and listening to the message.

b) On a deeper level, it's distracting because while I'm listening for the answer to the next fill-in-the-blank, I'm NOT listening for something more personal that I might take away from the message. I'm too focused on getting the minister's point and miss a point that may not be in his outline, but might be more relevant to my spirituality.

4) The messages - OK, this may be offensive to some, but please read my WHOLE explanation before getting mad! I find most contemporary messages to be rather obvious and surface level. They rarely teach me anything new and have never presented me with the kind of spiritual challenges I need in order to reaffirm my faith and understand what it means for me to be a Christian. Now, today I was thinking through how I can reconcile this opinion, because I won't deny that these types of churches with these surface level messages are attracting WAY more NEW Christians than the traditional churches like mine. This is what I came up with:

At first I wanted to break it into the churches that are more outreached based and the churches that are more theologically based. While I agree that certain churches often do one or the other quite well and lack in the other area, I decided not to approach it this way because to me, when a church belongs to a denomination, each member church is accepting and committing that denominations stand on outreach AND theology. It's not fair to judge them based on criteria that they are supposed to both support and agree upon, regardless of how well it's executed.

So how can I break it down? I decided to think of it like this: there are churches that seem to apply themselves to the mission of making God/christianity applicable to their memebers, and then there are churches who seek to make themselves relevant to God. The former are the more contemporary churches. They are great, great churches for people who are new to Christianity or people who may need to start from the beginning again. They bring God, who is difficult for even the most experienced believer to understand, into the realm of what we can relate to - music, drama, charismatic presentations, technology, visual stimulation, etc. A few years ago, I may have condemned this style, but a very wise person pointed out to me that when God wanted to communicate his ultimate message through Christ, he formed the message based on HUMAN norms. The message came through Christ, who was fully human. It did not come from an incomprehendable being booming down orders from the heavens. So the contemporary churches do an amazing job of making God/Christianity relevant to new/young Christians by communicating at THEIR level.

The more traditional, theology-centered churches are like Part Two. They focus on teaching people how to make themselves relevant to God and God's will. You can't do this without an attitude of reflection and reverance and at this point, it's necessary to delve a bit deeper into Scripture and more challenging theology. I think this is why I here many people say "I don't need a little skit showing that 'Jesus loves the little children.' I want to be challenged, I need something deep."

Both of these types of churches have their own place in the world. Both are necessary. Both are relevant in different ways and neither should be made to feel subordinate to the other. I was very fortunate to grow up in a family that did not spoon-feed me or force me into one belief, but also provided the means for me to explore Christianity and the various denominations and theologies. My parents never said "only this is right" or "no you are wrong". They also supported the direction I chose for myself. At age 21, I'm committed to certain beliefs and certain aspects of faith, so based on how I'm thinking of these two types of churches, it's only natural that a contemporary service can't fulfill my spiritual needs. Also, I don't think I should feel guilty for thinking this way.

I enjoy contemporary services because I enjoy hearing the testimonies of people who have come from the lowest of lows into Chrisitanity and been completely revitalized. However, when it comes to revitalizing my own spirituality, it just doesn't happen for me. I feel like I'm going through the motions, mainly because I am. I've been in that place before and worked through that experience and now that my heart is set, I want my head challenged as well.

One other thought that I had today is that I'd like to admit I'm sort of biased against the contemporary churches because so many of my friends left my traditional church over petty things like wanting newer songs or wanting guitars in church. Music is very important to me, so I can understand that it is a serious bone of contention when it comes to worship, but what I can't understand is why these people just pack up and leave with NO attempt to make changes within their own church? To me that's like saying "Sarah's family has better rules and a nicer house so I'm just going to disown my family and move in with them." If you want change, then CHANGE! To me, my church family is far too important to toss aside because of a differences in preferred worship styles. I don't like how so many people are starting to treat church - which is as much about building a family and community as it is about praising God - like fast food. It's cheapening Christianity as a whole and it's no wonder we look like stupid drones just going through the motions. If I asked my friends what being a Christian means to them, I dare say many would just say "I don't know" because they've never bothered to think about it. Sadly, most of the atheists I know are more committed to their beliefs than my Christian friends.

Anyway, just a few things I've had on my mind.
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Old 07-17-2006, 05:15 AM   #15
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Wow, what a great post! I agree with absolutely EVERYTHING you just said!
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