Report from the Pew for Sunday, April 29, 2018

I attended three churches today. Two of the three were for music presentations.

Church A had its annual all generations music presentation with singing groups with people from age 7 to 77—less or more—singing. Several musical selections had scripture reading and testimonies. It was a powerful presentation involving almost 150 singers and instrumentalists. It was inspiring and enjoyable. Instrumentalists played piano, keyboard, guitar, and drums.

Church B was for it regular worship service with the music led by its praise team of a keyboard, drummer, two guitars, and two who just sang. Two of the instrumentalists also sang. The music was worshipful and of high quality. The passion and enthusiasm were palpable. The sermon was on target and clear.

Church C was for what is apparently an annual choir concert. It was great, inspiring, and motivating. Instrumentalists included a piano, organ, drums, and bass guitar. A special guest instrumentalist was a saxophonist. Different scripture passages were projects to the screens in the worship center during the songs. Soloists and well as the choice gave impassioned performances.

Here are some observations:

  1. All three had high quality music appropriate to the congregational setting and culture. Each congregation was very different from the other.
  2. With only one exception none of the music was a traditional hymn that would be found in any of the top ten hymnals.
  3. Audience response was positive and obvious in all three congregations with calls of “amen” or other utterances, clapping, hands waving, etc.
  4. Each service acknowledged visitors might be present and wanted them to feel welcome.
  5. Each service sought to be inviting for new people to connect with the congregation.
  6. Each service said directly or implied that people should consider a faith-based relationship with Jesus.
  7. But, and this is the big one, each service used a lot of church culture language that anyone visiting who does not have significant experience with church culture would not understand. Therefore, the gap between the members of the congregation and preChristian and unchurched persons was obvious. It is possible that none of the congregations realized they projected this gap, but they must figure it out if they want their worship and music services to connect with preChristians and unchurched persons.
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