Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Time Capsule

I took a trip to the past last Sunday. Remember when Brooklyn Tab was all the rage? I think every choir in America had a copy of "He's Been Faithful" in the early 90's.

Funny, when something was "it," that something tends to stay "it," thinking that it's still "it." Brooklyn Tab is still doing what it did back then. Same lush orchestrations. Same quasi-jazz chords. Same template of quiet opening, with soloist, then a great big choir ending. It was wonderful and all, very touching, just like it was back in 1991. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Lots of suits and ties, so I felt kinda weird in my jeans. I would imagine a visitor off the street would feel weird, too. Now I remember why I like the fact that contemporary churches typically don't dress up.


Greg Atkinson said...

You were in New York last week? I'm jealous! I was in Atlanta - not the same.

J Brake said...

You must be an espresso junkie to be writing in the wee hours of the AM.
I liked your comments on Brooklyn Tab. I have another good slogan like your “If it aint’ broke, don’t fix it”. How about, “God ain’t in the franchise business either!”
We just love to mimic what the latest & cool Christian trends are in churches. Oh yeah, we’re emerging fools! Now, don’t get me wrong, I thrive on the front line of fresh ideas and there is a problem when churches refuse to change to better meet the needs of their body, young and old. But an important “Lesson Learned” for me was when a group of sincere “just wantin’people saved” believers (including me) tried to copy or mimic Willow Creek about 20 years ago. We were even one of the earlier followers of the WC seeker church movement. We had great dramas (I was the 2nd director), fabulous music and relevant 20-minute messages. We copied almost everything and we were excellent. We even had the same neat wooden trash receptacles just like Willow. But we could not grow the way we hoped and dreamed. We were doing everything in a smaller scale just like Willow or so we thought. But we were a copy not an original.
Looking back I dare say we might have been so good at programming that we may have programmed the Holy Spirit right out of there. We really were not being or doing church well. Maybe we were more of an evangelistic program but our doors became revolving ones. And it never took and people did not stay.
God doesn’t franchise… and like Brooklyn, he calls people to a special assignment, an original work of Himself in special place and time of His choosing. It looks like God is still keepin’ it real at B-Tab. And I love it when God reminds us who really is at work here and that He can still draw people to Himself when the dress code isn’t denim.

Anonymous said...

How can they keep the people coming when using things that were working from 15 years ago? For years in our little church, we had very traditional styled services..hymns that were hundreds of years old...traditional choir that struggled but thought they had to keep trying to sing. We were losing attendance by the week but we kept on going. A new pastor 5 years ago breathed a little new life into the church with his sermons & enthusiasm but more was needed. Finally we tried to change the music. I'm the church organist/pianist & unfortunately there are no other instruments to help with the music. We recruited a few people who could sing fairly well & started to do some praise songs at the beginning of the service. It wasn't accepted all that well at first but we kept it up. We have been doing this type of music now for a couple years and the pastor has come on board with it, saying he wanted upbeat music throughout the entire service & at his request, we now end the service with a very upbeat, lively gospel type of song. We show lyrics on a video screen. Suddenly the pews are holding more faces..younger faces...& the Sunday School is now growing. Yet there are a few (with big mouths of course) who are complaining & trying to get us to bring back the traditional hymns & traditional service. I have added the traditional hymn within the praise song sets but play it in a much more contemporary/praise-like manner, yet they still continue to complain. How do you handle making those few understand that they are a minority & going back to the old ways is not healthy and helping to grow a church?

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I agree with j. brake and with anonymous. Every Church must pray and seek God's direction for their Church body. What one Church has been called to do, may not be the same call that God has for our Churches. I attend a Reform Church and you would never believe it. We have a small Choir, which I direct and we have a contemporary service. This is the vision He has given our Church. New changes are coming all in His time. Our vision and ministry is to save the lost. God will show us how to reach them.

Anonymous said...

We have to be careful when changing a worship style in a traditional established church. I was in a chaurch with great faithful people and it almost died because change was too rapid a radical. I was part of the group pushing change as the lay worship leader. Then i read a book call, "Why I Left the Cointempory Christion Music Movement" , by Dam Lacare. I do not agree with the author on music theory vs worship, but I strongly agree that it is wrong to discard the feelings of those who grew up in a traditional church in previous generations and they are incomfortable with the changes. This is where a blend of old and new is appropriate. You can draw new younger members and keep the faithful long time members feeling like they are still impoatant. Remember what Paul warned the early chaurch about not offending those that were not comfortable eating meat offerred to idols even though the grace of God took away the old laws about diet.