"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Friday, May 21, 2010

Is Contemporary Worship Still Contemporary?

I love the video below. Too funny. Too real.

What do you think?


"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

50 comments:

New BBC Open Forum said...

You've seen one, you've seen them all.

Was it just my untrained (and now blown-out) ear, or did the opening song (that not everyone knows), the new song, and the closing song all sound like the same tuneless song?

Anonymous said...

This groups seems to be affiliated with Andy Stanley? Seems strange they are making fun of what they do every week.

Tom Kelley said...

Too funny.

CheezeWhizChurch said...

Same tuneless song, more or less. I liked the part where the song leader says "Give as you feel led," then says, "but we're tracking you." If you look at the latest "church management" software available, it tracks members' giving, participation, attendance and even friends in church sometimes. They're tracking you, all right.

No One Special said...

I like the part:

"were inviting ushers up for the offering which you can give if you feel lead, but were tracking it."

New BBC Open Forum said...

"were inviting ushers up for the offering which you can give if you feel lead, but were tracking it."

We laugh at this, but they do. Ha ha ha.

karateka said...

This trailer made my day. Funniest thing I have seen in a long time.

I think the MBA's have too much power in the modern church. Entertainment aspects of worship do have value. But what happened to "praying in one's closet?"

WishIhadknown said...

All that is missing is the “guy with all the answers” telling the members, “If you don’t like it, leave” with graphics, of course. Oh, and in “love” and a “broken heart.”

dee said...

Dog

This was hysterical. I amy need to "rip it off" for our blog one day. The part about the new song that the worship leader wrote was spot on. How many of us have attended such a church and couldn't sing along with half of the songs. Also, so many churches "sell" their music as well.And those songs are banal and tuneless.

Anonymous said...

The only thing missing from this are shots from backstage showing the Hollywoodesque production process to bring you the weekly show.

Anonymous said...

It isn't funny, it's sad, because that is exactly where we are heading. Some churches are already there, and they are bringing in the bucks. The rest will follow. We have lost. God Help Us.

Anonymous said...

As i saw the video I was thinking that it seems the church has become the training ground for our future stars of radio, tv. and maybe even even hollywood. many enertainers got their start from a church "performance" Elvis started singing in church. What is passed off as worship is not honoring to our Lord, but gratifying to the "artist"

Anonymous said...

I got that video about 3 weeks ago, one of the funniest videos I have ever seen! But the message isn't about contemporary worship, it's about worship from the lips and not from the heart. And that condition goes back to the days of Isaiah and it thrives in the traditional style of music as well.

The media department at NorthPointe (a completely contemporary church pastored by Andy Stanley) was making the point that worship so easily becomes robotic.

But don't turn this video into a contemporary vs. traditional style...because you can track the churches in the U.S. that are growing and reaching people and they are doing it through a comtemporary style. And look at the Church that is growing around the globe - it's not in the traditional stylings of European churches, Catholic Masses or stale, "won't budge" churches - but instead it's in the contemporary styles of worship and participation.

But as aforementioned, great message with a GREAT message.

Jon G

Anonymous said...

While traditional churches can be "don't budge" churches, I hesitate to dismiss them like the "relevant" churches do. I've spent most of my 30 years as a Christian in contemporary churches. Until this year, I adopted the attitude that tradition equals dead, and the only way to reach people was to be hip and not three steps behind contemporary culture. I loved the creativity of many contemporary churches, but after looking at the philosophy and market model behind much of it, I realized that the people I knew with the strongest relationships with Christ were older ladies in traditional churches. I started reading links at http://church.alltop.com/ and began to see how shallow CGM philosophy was, how less and less of Jesus was in it (to be relevant, of course) and how empty both the lyrics to contemp songs and preaching was. At one time, contemporary worship songs were mostly scripture. Now, it's pretty vacant fare for the most part. Preachers buy their sermons from sermon mills, complete with Hollywood-provided film clips. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20050923/hollywood_churches_film_050923?s_name=&no_ads=

A symbiotic relationship between megas and Hollywood means that in exchange for the use of free video clips, churches promote films to their audience and get clips and suggested sermon notes in return.

Richard said...

Sorry, Jon G., but you should look further---there are many liturgical churches out there that are healthy, and even growing. I'm a member of one. We observe the historical liturgical seasons of the year, as well as the worship moments that are vital to our experience, like praise, confession, Old and New Testament readings, traditional hymns of our faith, and, we are Baptist. I think the problem is that when churches go the contemporary route, a strong group of people are sometimes left without a vessel of worship, and they gravitate to other churches or denominations. Those congregations that remain attract younger Christians, and they grow, and that is fine. However, we must dispense with the concept that consumer-style worship must be the only way because it brings in so many. If the contemporary churches would take the next step and disciple and educate their belivers in historical Christianity and strong theology as expressed in more traditional forms, we may find a stronger body of church members. Some will grow in spite of it, but many will float from church to church. We must never forget the people who cannot accept consumer music. Instead, we must make a place for them, and learn from them.

Anonymous said...

"But don't turn this video into a contemporary vs. traditional style...because you can track the churches in the U.S. that are growing and reaching people and they are doing it through a comtemporary style. And look at the Church that is growing around the globe - it's not in the traditional stylings of European churches, Catholic Masses or stale, "won't budge" churches - but instead it's in the contemporary styles of worship and participation.
"

Tyical man centered view. The truth of the Gospel is what CHANGES people.

Lots of entertainment and group think events ATTRACTS people and grows. Just look around you: Concerts, sports and mega churches that market felt needs.

Why are we so very shallow? Maybe a good dose of persecution will purify the Bride and we will find out who is wheat and who is tare.

Anonymous said...

The truth is, this style of worship is not for everyone. There are people in every age-group who would like to worship in a traditional service . . . no drums & guitars, no praise team who appear to be performing with choreographed movements, no colored stage lights, hymns we can sing along with (you know, the ones that are theologically sound and present the gospel in song), expository preaching, and a church that reaches out and ministers in the community and around the world. The reason someone could say those churches are not growing is that, for the most part, they don't exist. We've looked in the area where we live . . . .

Anonymous said...

"We observe the historical liturgical seasons of the year, as well as the worship moments that are vital to our experience, like praise, confession, Old and New Testament readings, traditional hymns of our faith, and, we are Baptist."

What city/town are you located in. Sounds like my kind of church.

Anonymous said...

Our family has been visiting churches in the area and this video is DEAD ON. Here's the thing. The contemporary or seeker worship style that was originally developed to be 'counter-culture' and non-cliche is now so very cliche and boring and predictable. Everyone has the stupid keyboard and guitars and none of it sounds good. Embarrassing. We too long for a genuine worship style and doctrinal hymns. I'm not interested in going to church to worship the cool people there with their microphones. The new music leaders are all pop star wannabees with their hair product. The current state of the church is sickenly sad. I never imagined the level of shallowness that now exists in our baptist churches.

WishIhadknown said...

Contemporary churches growing? I know of three churches here that switched to a contemporary worship style and only succeeded in polarizing the members and dividing the congregations. Now, on any given Sunday, their attendance is roughly half of what it was. But hey, they’re relevant or is it contemporvant? I think if anyone evaluated the growth of the contemporary churches they would find that most of the growth comes from proselytizing sister churches’ members.

Anonymous said...

I am not saying that traditionally styled churches aren't growing, I am just saying that those who are baptizing the most, seeing the most conversions (not church hoppers) and seeing the Gospel permeate the young generation is the contemporary-styled church. (See Village Church, WaterMark, Mosiac Church, Community Churches, Gateway, Ecclesia, Valley Bible, New Life Church)

Now Thomas Road Baptist is on that list of 10 fastest growing churches as well, and it is traditionally styled.

I am not saying that ONLY contemporary styled churches are growing, but I am saying that the NorthPointe video you watched was about the heart and not a diatribe on contemporary music.

I wonder if some of the posters on here would have been shocked when Peter baptized 3000 in Jewish cleansing pools because "it had never been done that way before"

Jon G

Richard said...

Jon-It's not about our refusal to change. Many of us have no problem with change when it has a strong theological reason. The problem is with contemporary styles, which have already grown stale because of their shallow, consumer-oriented context. Seeker church leaders have acknowledged for years that those styles are intended to attract, and that more is needed for discipling. Those of us who have been guided by years of worship traditions know and love their theological strength. We have difficulty with a style that lowers God to the world's standards. We may be baptizing some souls due to those styles, but I daresay they are not being discipled. And yes, we are among the first to baptize as Peter did in such circumstances.

WishIhadknown said...

I wonder if some of the posters on here would have been shocked when Peter baptized 3000 in Jewish cleansing pools because "it had never been done that way before"

How is that remotely applicable?

The churches may be growing but at what cost to other churches? Are these other churches actually growing the church or just bleeding other churches dry? What about the churches that this frenzy to switch to contemporary is splitting? What about the pain that is needlessly being inflicted on your brothers and sisters? Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t contemporary be incorporated the way other changes have been made?

The shocking thing to me is the heartless way contemporary is being shoved down everyone’s throats!

Anonymous said...

God is not the author of CONFUSION. The individual at 11:34 pm hit it correctly i.e., half the attendance. Additionally, the bible believers who know their bibles do not care for the "hip and swing, fresh, or new theology"line. Give me that old time religion its good enough for me. If you want entertainment rather than worship God then thats your choice. You can't have both, because the modern "jump jive" isn't worship.

In another 50 years if Jesus postpones His coming the traditional church will be as quiet as a silent film. Shocking just shocking what modernism has done for the church of Jesus Christ. My suggestion is get out and start your own bible study as it will get worse and worse. It looks as if true bible believers are being run out of their churches by celebrity preachers that sooner or later are discovered to be PHONY, and by the selfish pop-stars that can't get a real job, so they go into the show business called "church". God help us.

Anonymous said...

"I am not saying that ONLY contemporary styled churches are growing, but I am saying that the NorthPointe video you watched was about the heart and not a diatribe on contemporary music.
"

Doesn't matter. Andy Stanely is extremely shallow. I have listened to tons of his sermons and read his books. He is a motivational speaker who sprinkles his 'talks' with a few proof texts.

Anonymous said...

One very real problem with these "contemporary movements" (I won't call them churches), is most of the time they do not start from the ground up, building their own churches. They go into traditional churches that have been built by strong preachers in the past that built the church up by preaching the WORD. You know, where people really got saved! Also by the longtime members that gave of their time money and service to help bring others to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. These traditional members are "forced out" of their own church. They find they can't "compromise" with these modern "temples of entertainment" that ride on the coat-tails of the past "real church". They more or less "steal" the existing facilities and replace the people. Some say they have a contemporary and a traditional service. Just until they can get rid of the traditional old believers! That's something for everybody. That's a church without conviction. A "give em" what they want compromise". Sort of like a department store. All of it is based on MONEY. If you can't sell one thing maybe you can another. How sad to market the gospel like so many are doing today. Please take time to read the entire chapter of Matthew 7. It is too long to print here, but really speaks to todays churches, both pastors and people. Pay close attention to vs. 21-23.

Keith said...

Well stated Anon 6:03.
The "Seeker Friendly" crowd bides their time time while slowly and systematically easing out the traditional members. They follow Rick Warren's lie. While studying this issue I saw Jer.23:1-4. This is what I see around me.
Jeremiah 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

Jeremiah 23:4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.

Anna A said...

I am coming from one of the traditional churches, that Anonymous 3:30 pm seems to dislike.

We started our explosion of contemporary worship changes in the 1960's. (Vatican 2, if you want the dates).

Now, the churches and the religious groups that are growing, are the most traditional, not the most current.

Anonymous said...

Keith Green warned of Christian music becoming an industry instead of a ministry.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:03 PM, you are so right on. Our growing church was mostly traditionalists glad for the young families coming in, renting a mainline church until the new building was finished. I saw elderly women in wheelchairs standing to scrape paint, older men helping lay carpet and put in ceiling tiles, middle aged couples sacrificing four or five evenings a week to restore an old department store for their new church. Then after it was all built, all nice and shiny new, the contemporvant crew gave adult Sunday school the 8:30 am slot and marginalized everything. They didn't outright ban traditionalism, they just didn't publicize their events and would shove them to the least convenient times. After watching the pain from the treatment of these saints, we left and are now in a small, mainline church. There aren't many evangelical churches left in our community sold out to the gospel, the scripture or even Christ. It's a motivational speaker, tepid kind of emphasis now. Our mainline is actually more interested in the Bible than the contemporvant one was. Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

Contemporary definition "living or happening at the same period of time, about the same age, a person living in the same period of history as another or others" Webster New World Dictionary.

This should be an eye opener, because, there is a great gulf between the old time religion and the so called new religion of today. Where are the Onward Christian Soldiers, Faith of Our Fathers Living Still; Shall We Gather at The River; Blessed be the tie; Ye Must Be Born Again; Nothing But The Blood; God Of Our Fathers; Oh God Our Helper In Ages Past; We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder; Open My Eyes That I Might See; Holy, Holy, Holy; Sweet, Sweet Spirit; How firm a Foundation; In the Garden; I Love to Tell The Story; Love lifted Me; What a Friend We Have in Jesus; I Know that My Redeemer Liveth; I Have Decided to Follow Jesus; Lead on Oh King Eternal; The Star Spangled Banner; America the Beautiful.

I can tell you that many of these old hymns are very seldom sung in traditional churches except for the Independent Baptist ones. They are the songs of the 1800's and the early 1900's when the faithful served the Lord and banded together to praise and worship the King of Kings. These were the days of Spurgeon, Truett, Criswell, Lindsay Sr, Ham, Billy Sunday,Wilbur Chapman, and great men of God who have passed onto their Heavenly reward. These were the days of great revivals and church growth and witnessing that will never be surpassed. Today there is some churches that desire to go contemporary. But, do you notice that the largest still have traditional services. Fortunately, a lot of the old timers still remember where we came from and want to hold onto the traditional values of our fathers still, because they know where they are going., and Who they will answer to. Like 1:27am I will hold onto the faith of our fathers living still and blessed be the tie that binds us still. Even so come quickly Lord Jesus is my song.

FBC Choir Member said...

I'm in the ensemble that sang Sunday and the Rev. Dr. James D. Whitmire had us sing all of the congregational songs in harmony. We got to sing my favorite hymn "And Can It Be?" in 4-part harmony, as well as all of the other songs.

Dee Lauderdale said...

"The Star Spangled Banner; America the Beautiful."

What do either of these songs have to do with Jesus?

Anonymous said...

Dee: These two great hyms are patriotic songs which show that God shed his grace on America and give honor to our founding fathers who were very godly loving Christians which will never be equaled. Hope this helps you especially during this upcoming Memorial Day weekend. God bless.

P.S.America the Beautiful in the refrain of this hymn we find:
America America! God shed his grace on thee,
America America! God mend thine every flaw.
America America! May God thy gold refine,
America America! God shed his grace on thee.
I would have included the Pledge of Allegiance but it isn't a hymn.

Anonymous said...

Also....I have sung both America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner many times in the past at FBCJ when the Lindsays were the pastors.

Dee Lauderdale said...

Anon,

You have a very interesting view of worshiping God, which is what most posters on this blog say Sunday morning is all about.

Dee Lauderdale said...

"Also....I have sung both America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner many times in the past at FBCJ when the Lindsays were the pastors."

So that makes it right? It's comments like these that make it very easy for people to make the accusation that some are focusing far too much on the past. that being said, this is none of my business. I'm not a member of FBC Jax.

However, I will say that singing America the Beautiful or the Star Spangled Banner in the context of a service that is to focus on the finished work of Jesus is entirely inappropriate.

Dee Lauderdale said...

I never knew America The Beautiful or The Star Spangled Banner was a hymn.

Anonymous said...

You have a very interesting view of worshiping God, which is what most posters on this blog say Sunday morning is all about.

May 25, 2010 11:47 AM

Not all. Where is it written in the NC that Sunday Morning is about worshiping God? We are to worship God constantly. And when believers gather, worship takes place when we study, pray, sing, etc. And where is it written there is ONE guy standing on a stage preaching to people sitting in pews?

Anonymous said...

Dee: Get a GRIP. Do you find fault with these hymms? You know nothing of me or my idea of worship. How do you think from one comment that you are qualified to judge me? Have you spent over 60 years in Baptist churches which I have done? And WAS is a Baptist church every Sunday/Wednesday for these years. Both SBC and Independent. You do believe in the Trinity, I hope...God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. God manifest himself in the flesh. What is your problem??? Your comment does not make sense. But please don't bother to elaborate as you don't seem to appreciate the old hymns of worship that many of us treasure.

Former FBC Insider said...

" Anonymous said...
The only thing missing from this are shots from backstage showing the Hollywoodesque production process to bring you the weekly show.

May 22, 2010 12:00 PM"

No kidding! I was thinking the same thing! I've 'produced' many stage shows, assemblies, sermons, whatever you want to call them. There is another whole group of people behind the scenes making it all 'happen'.

This spoof was hysterically acurate and oh so funny!!

Anonymous said...

Just as information "The Star Spangled Banner", and the HYMN "America the Beautiful" are in the "BAPTIST HYMNAL" l975 Edition Covention Press Nashville, Tenn. put out by the Southern Baptist Convention. This Hymnal was used in most Southern Baptist Churches and FBCJ also for mnay years. So, guess maybe your argument should be with the SBC.

Anonymous said...

7:52am Anon,

Your "old time religion" songs are only 150 years old! So your hymns are actually "new time religion." That means your great, great, great grandfather would have hated "Love Lifted Me" and "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus." Those would have been those dumb, new songs to him!
I am constantly amuzed by people like you who think Jesus and the Disciples sang from the Baptist Hymnal. Every few generations sing new songs to the Lord - - and I am glad or you would still be chanting in Latin!
Ironically "Faith of our Fathers" is a Catholic song written to hold Catholics in line. "In the Garden" is an odd song unless you really do walk around gardens early in the morning with dew on the roses. And "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder" might be the most inane, theologically devoid song EVER!
Believe it not, I love many old hymns from the 1600's, 1700's, 1800's and 1900's! But I also love songs that were written months ago. Worship is about our hearts before God, not "give me that old-time religion" legalism. Yuck!

Steve C.

Dee Lauderdale said...

I think if you'll read the NT (I assume that's what you meant when you wrote "NC") you'll discover Jesus preaching/teaching in a setting that had him talking and others listening, while they sat in what where first century pews inside a building called a synagogue

Look, we come from different generations and I'll close my comments by saying that I grew up in baptist churches that had "patriotic" services that were more political convention than worshiping Jesus. Now that I have a choice, I choose to not do that.

Anonymous said...

"I think if you'll read the NT (I assume that's what you meant when you wrote "NC") you'll discover Jesus preaching/teaching in a setting that had him talking and others listening, while they sat in what where first century pews inside a building called a synagogue"


Jesus was God. And He was using the tradition. And most of those listening in the synagogues rejected Him. Are you saying that what you are doing follows the Jewish synagogue tradition into the NC?

Now, what example do we see in 1st Century ekklesia? And what did Paul counsel for the ekklesia in 1 Corin? It certainly was not one guy speaking from a stage week after week.

Dee Lauderdale said...

"It certainly was not one guy speaking from a stage week after week."

Did you think this when the Lindsy's where leading FBCJ?

Anonymous said...

To all the critics of the past generations and their form of worship: You people would probably not have a church were it not for the "old-timers" that fought for served, and maintained a church for YOU. Where Jesus was the one exalted above all, and where people actually got saved. You are right we are from different generations. I am glad to be an "old-timer". At least I was in the church when it was of some value and was a REAL church not a temple of entertainment making others rich. After all it is the NEW generation and the NEW AGE movement that is destroying and emptying churches today. They offer nothing of value. You don't know what a real church and real worship is.....you weren't there. All you understand is the contemporary excuse for a church. I feel sorry for you. YOU MISSED THE BEST!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I am surprised so many comments on this thread about contemporary worship.

A couple of my own comments:

- I don't have a problem with "contemporary worship" at all. I don't prefer it over a more traditional style, but I've been in some good contemporary worship styles.

- I WOULD have a problem of a more traditional church being transitioned into a "contemporary" church, giving no options to those at the church who prefer traditional. My current church is one that in the past year has begun a contemporary service in addition to the more "traditional" (which is actually a blended style, but with a choir and orchestra)...but the preacher preaches the same message, he is a bible expositor, and the Word goes forth. I've attended that contemporary service, and I like it, but don't prefer it. My teenage children do prefer contemporary, but they also enjoy the more traditional service as well. The preacher explained his heart on why they did this, and that it really is in an attempt to reach younger lost people. I respect that, and agree with it. I know many of the bloggers here might disagree with me, but I am glad they are trying it.

- I think FBC Jax has mostly been true to their more "traditional" roots. They have a good blend of music between hymns and worship songs. I think Whitmire does an excellent job in song selection, and the choir and orchestra still is great. I'm a bit surprised perhaps that FBC Jax hasn't started a contemporary service early in the morning, or maybe even on Saturday nights as an outreach to the younger generation. But maybe the South campus is their more contemporary service, I don't know.

But thanks everyone for chiming in here with your thoughts on this, and feel free to keep the discussion going.

Dee Lauderdale said...

you sound like a typical, bitter old-timer who can't admit that the world is an dynamic place. You can't even answer a simple question of did you hold the same opinion of preachers when the Lindsy's were leading. Instead you go off on a tirade, telling us how great it used to be. How dare you be so pompous as to say that only you and your generation know what a "real" church is.

One more thing and then I'm out, I may be young but at least I've got the guts to sign my name.

Dee Lauderdale
www.deelauderdale.com

Anonymous said...

Dee, this was no tirade just my observations over many years. I've had this view way prior to the Lindsays. I believe the word dynamic "energenic, forceful, and effective" has been around since the Church of Phil. 1900 and afterwards. Also, I'm not bitter, I'm better, just disappointed in people who think the past was not "dynamic" to use your terminology. I am happy in the Lord. But, I am not happy with what "liberal" entertaiment oriented people have done to the Lord's church.

Its a real shame you weren't around in the 1930's and 1940's when you could leave your doors open and no thought of people breaking in. That day is also gone forever. Additionally, everyone helped his neighbor. You should read Tom Brokaws book on the "The Greatest Generation". If it were not for those men and women that served, were wounded or died and bled for America during WWII you and I wouldn't even be here discussing this matter. Yes, I may be an old timer but so were your grandparents. Just wait a few more years like 30-40 and then see if you still believe what you have just spoken. Age does have experience and advantage in some areas. We've seen the potholes and the bumps in the road and we stay clear of them. That would include phony New Age churches.

You might want to read what Paul, Peter and John wrote considering "elders" as it could be a most interesting commentary on what is currently being played out in churches today. There is very little respect for elders. Most are treated as children. This is really a shame. Many elders have the knowledge and experience that churches need. Not to mention the spiritual descernment so lacking today, even in the preachers. BTW, try this "old" routine on an elder mega preacher. Tell him he is bitter and see where it gets ya. Please remember this exchange when you are "older" and disrespected. When someone calls you bitter and see how you feel. I am just sorry so many have missed the best years of the church. We are not called the church of Laodicea for nothing.

Have a great day and keep your chin up. Its later than you think!!!!