Life as I know it… plus commentary

More church ranting….

with 4 comments

Every now and then, I attend a meeting where staff people from a church I attend plan the weekend services.  They talk about message topics and administrative details and I join in when the topic turns to other content.  I’m fond of using drama, movie clips and songs to introduce a subject. 

Someone made a comment about “slick and polished multimedia” and it got me thinking.  At some point, we (all of us in America who do church work) started looking at musical or dramatic performances that were well executed or media presentations that were well done as slick…  that mistakes and rawness communicated a “realness” that had more value.  Somehow along the way we began to think that valuing high production values meant we were more interested in how something looked or how well it was received.  I don’t understand this.  I don’t understand how offering the best of our talents and time is not a form of worship.  I don’t understand the thinking that says “good enough” is the standard for churches.  And I don’t understand how striving for and calling others to excellence is not just good stewardship of our talents.  Granted this can (and has been) abused and I am not advocating that at all.  I do think that we are called to offer the best we have to God and to each other.

The answer to this problem looks the other way.  Somehow spontaneity and a lack of desire to over plan things “leaves room for the Holy Spirit”.  Does the same Spirit not take part in our planning?  Surely it does not try to trick us by allowing us to plan one way and then do something contrary to those plans.  Yet somehow we’ve come to believe that unless there’s room for a worship leader or a pastor or even the guy doing announcements to completely stray from the program then we’re squelching the possibility of the Spirit moving.  Let’s call this for what it is… the worship leader really wanted to do another song; the pastor just had to tell that other story; or the announcement guy just had to deliver a sermonette about his particular ministry during the welcome.  Sure… that’s a heavy handed pronouncement.  I’ll agree to that and even say these thing can be legitimate and ministering times.  But don’t say that every instance of these is “the Spirit moving!”.  It’s just religious talk that has lost it’s meaning from overuse.

I don’t know if there’s a point to this.  Maybe it’s this… do the best you can and know for whom you do it. 


Written by arnold

March 16, 2006 at 12:13 am

Posted in Religion

4 Responses

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  1. When I think of ‘slickness’, rather than excellence in service, I think of a service that will cause the congregants to focus on the production rather than focusing on God. An excellent service will retain the correct worship focus, while a slick service is like a concert.

    Or not. I could be wrong….

    Peggy C

    March 17, 2006 at 12:29 am

  2. What happens if the musicians just let the “spirit move” and did not practice their instruments? Sorry Arnold you can’t use that excuse anymore when playing bass. 🙂 I agree with you and Peggy. In the area of drama I am discouraged with how little rehearsal people think they need or are able to give, and then think they will have a good performance or production.

    Art is tricky because if it is done well it will look easy. Good art will focus people of the story and not the production (as Peggy points out). But this can only be done with hard work that takes long hours. I don’t think churches should be afraid of the word production. A good production focuses you on the things that should be focused on.

    When one sees a good movie for the first time, does the average viewer watch the moving thinking, “Wow, that DP set up a great shot. That actor was really in the moment.” No they are swept up in the story and the journey. In later reflection those former thoughts come to mind. So must the church produce. The participants should be wrapped up in the journey and stories of what is happening whether through the music, drama, video, sermon, etc. They will do this when the production is of good quality.

    Quality does matter and quality in art demands a lot from a person. More than most people know. More from a person that the church is allowing time and space for. It is easier at times to let “the spirit” lead because it is easier. Good art requires more than people are willing to give because it will usually take you farther than you want to go.

    Arnold I encourage you to speak up at the meetings…


    March 21, 2006 at 5:48 pm

  3. i was going to leave a thoughtful comment, but the two already left pretty much sum up anything valuable i could have lent to the conversation.

    i could posit a question: how hard should the church try to be ‘relevant’ to our media saturated culture? how much is it worth instead of feeding homeless people named Jesus?

    thank you.

    curtis a. bronzan

    March 24, 2006 at 9:48 am

  4. Who’s to say that feeding homeless people isn’t relevant?


    March 24, 2006 at 9:53 am

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