Thursday, June 3, 2010


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

Okay, I'm jumping headfirst into the deep end of a heated, much-debated worship war... But I can't help it. I thought this video was hilarious. And that's saying something, considering that the church I attend doesn't look all that different from the one depicted in this mock trailer. 

Yes, I go to a "contemporary" church. And yes, most of the time I love it. But I'm not completely blind to the fact that sometimes modern interpretations of worship can be considered fake and manufactured, more concerned with being culturally relevant than biblically sound. Some of the stereotypes can be true. My husband (the pastor of our church) sports spiky hair, flip-flops on Sunday, and yes, he has a tattoo. But that's him--100%, bona fide Aaron. Never mind the evangelical tag. Or the fact that he preaches nothing but Scripture. And you know what? He laughed his head off at this video. Thought it was a clever satire.

As for people who shake their heads and cluck in disapproval at the sorts of churches that North Point Media pokes fun of, it might be your turn next. The truth of the matter is, all of our churches (traditional and contemporary, liberal and conservative, denominational and non) have shortcomings and--let's face it--failures. We're not perfect. And I'll laugh just as hard at the video the highlights the church of my youth... You know the one. It'll open with a stoic, grim-faced pastor cinching his tie just a little too tight then pan to an equally somber (but well-dressed) congregation of WASPS filing slowly into a church with stained-glass windows and hard-backed pews...

Sorry if that sounds cheeky. I don't mean to insult. I happen to be one of the people who loves both expressions of worship (and everything that falls in between). I adore a great base line as I all but shout out Mighty to Save. But I'd be a liar and a phony if I told you that I don't choke up every time I hear an organ begin the opening chords of one of the old greats: Amazing Grace, When Peace Like a River, Come Thou Fount... And I may belt out praise and worship songs in church, but I sing hymns to my children every night before bed because I can't stand the thought of them growing up not knowing the words to Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.

I'd rather take the best of both worlds than stand on one side of the worship war and fight with my brothers and sisters in Christ. How about you? Where do you fit? Do you find the video funny? Insulting? I'd love to hear what you have to say. And don't worry, if you think I'm an idiot, you can feel free to tell me so. I won't be insulted, but I might laugh. :)


  1. Ok...first I laughed...then I got quiet and could picture the truth in it...then I laughed again. I am not insulted by it altho I do find it a little bit *sad* that so many churches will fall into the pattern of doing it all the same way over and over enough that a video like this can even be made...if that makes sense.

    But I have also served behind the scenes in planning services and such so I know that of COURSE there is a build up and a "plan" for the flow to create the best possible worship experience. The great thing about that, tho, is having a worship leader and a pastor that follow the Holy Spirit's call for change in the midst of planning...ones who hear His urge to skip a song, or make this one longer ~ preach a little longer or pray with more passion.

    It's a great thing...a church led by God ~ but with this video, yes, I laughed out loud quite a bit :)

  2. I was a worship planner for several years and you're right, "there is a build up and a plan for the flow to create the best possible worship experience." As much as we'd like them to, these things don't magically happen on their own. I think it has to be a balance--part planning, part spur of the moment (Spirit, if you will) leading. I guess more than anything this video reminds me that even our most earnest, well-planned and, carefully thought-out efforts to facilitate honest worship are still dirty rags offered to God. It's humbling, but a good chance for us to laugh at ourselves, too.

  3. Oh goodness, did I ever laugh at that!! Those are the churches that my husband and I seek out...the contemporary ones with the cool Pastors, the current and upbeat worship music, and the coffee bars. I am one of those. However, the message is the most important part of any service, whether it be contemporary or traditional. As long as the message is Scriptural and Spirit-led, I'm happy. I like to have fun at church, but walk away learning about both God and myself in the process.

    Thanks so much for sharing that...I have to pass it on now!

  4. Ummmm....yea. I have no idea why, but that reminded me of those one commercials from a few years ago...I think by Budweiser??? I should know if it was Budweiser or not since my hubby works for them. Those "real men of genuis" or "real American heros" or something like that. I don't know why. Maybe it was the narrator dude's voice.

    I did go to this one church for a couple services and hubby and I just couldn't stomach it anymore. The worship was all lights and flash and they'd pan in close to something random, like the hands of the person jamming on the keyboard and show it on these big screens. I think it was hard to sit after standing on a dirt floor in Nairobi singing and clapping with nothing but our voices and an old guitar. That was the most authentic, heart-felt worship I've ever experienced. Neither hymns or contemporary. But Swahili!

    Sometimes I do think our culture (me included) is too obsessed with being "cool".

  5. I grew up attending a Methodist church, and always found it stuffy and boring. Even if I tried to listen my mind would often wander. Then I went to a non church with my cousin and loved it. I was never bored, never wondered what the time was - the same case when I went to my aunt and uncle's baptist church who does a worship style. I guess I'm not very into the traditional side of things when it comes to worshiping. I would go to a worship service over a traditional one any day because I know I'd actually get something out of it. But that's just me, personally. Other people might prefer traditional and get more out of that style. I think it all just depends on preference.