Posts Tagged ‘worship’

Why Do We Go To Church, Daddy?

January 3, 2010

Usher: Hey Deak,

My buddy Short Beak stopped by my branch the other day and asked me how to answer his kid’s question – “Why do we go to church, Daddy? I thought Jesus was fun and cool, but church really sucks! I can’t stay awake for longer than 5 minutes through those windy sermons and Sunday School is full of Geritol and brown-nosers.”

Deacon: So what did you tell him?

Usher:  I told him it was his problem.  After all, he’s fallen for it all his life, and now he’s at the point of no return.  No matter what he tells his kid, his kid will see him as a hypocrite because he still goes and doesn’t feel he can change as it’s too late in life and after all, the fellowship hour has really good desserts!

Deacon:  Usher, you’re so so lame!

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Jesusbucks!

January 9, 2009

Usher: Deak, are Western Christians just more “stupid” than the average human?

Deacon: To what are you referring to now?

Usher: Their “church planting” practices.  They simply just don’t get it. 

Deacon: How so?

Usher: Well, they take the idea of  “franchising”, they call it “church planting” and then they forget about the most important parts!

Deacon: What do you mean?

Usher: Well, they simply go half way.  They hire these young dudes fresh out of the seminary, make ’em assistants and youth pastors and then they just leave them up to their own devices!  Then they end up with 35,000 denominations and a watered-down brand.  They never close the deal!

Deacon: What should they do?

Usher: Everyone knows that the key to succes is franchising.  Recruit the franchisee (pastors) into a long term commitment, make them swear their allegiance to to the mother ship and then use every legal vehicle and disclosure document to either confuse them, trap them or keep them silent.  Add to this a proprietary system (sole source providers [denomination], proprietary software [doctrine/brand/protocol], indigent service folk [board], micro-managing regional watchdogs [management/Vatican], lazy in-house counsel [lawyers], super PR department [press control/propaganda], senator on the hill [political insurance]) and you’re on your way to absolute prosperity.

Deacon: Usher, you’ve described nothing more than a feudal system of control, deceit and sleight-of-hand!

Usher: Exactly!  They simply need to all get on the same page and build the brand!  They can call it Jesusbucks! If they’d just trade in the denomination for a universal brand, they’d be recognized around the world!  There’d be no confusion.  Everyone would make money!  A Jesusbucks on every corner!  Has a nice ring, don’t you think?

Deacon: Usher, you’ve gone off the top branch!

Usher: It would go something like this:  

“Sir, how would you like your religion?  Protestant blend? Light on the conscience? Lukewarm? and would you like some non-convicting rationalization with that? Please make yourself comfortable in our worship center while we fix you right up!

“Next please” – Non-denominational blend? Extra heavy on the condemnation? Hell fire hot and NO GRACE!  Sir, your order will be right up.  Have a seat against the elder’s wall and we’ll be right with you.

“Can I help the next Christian in line?”  Catholic blend? on ice?  Mass rush and hold the pergatory (that will require a 15% gratuity, sir)!  Coming right up sir, please step to the front of the line!  We like tippers!

Organic or Steroids – What does your church sell?

December 12, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, brilliant post here – couldn’t help but tout it! Since we had such a good conversation because of it:

http://kingdomgrace.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/disciples-or-converts/

and Mark’s post shows it affected him with a slight twist (of lemon) hehe

http://mark-bymaswell.blogspot.com/2008/12/would-you-like-some-cracked-pepper-sir.html

Conversation that ensued after reading these:

Usher: Hey Deak, I’m not sure I take issue or not regarding the comment on “birds and imprinting”, but no bother.  I just wanted to bring out the point of how foreign “organic” mindsets are in today’s human western culture.  Is it any wonder that the church is so much a reflection of the supermarket?

 

Deacon: Go on, I’m listening.

 

Usher: There’s no place for “ugly carrots” in the produce section of today’s markets.  God forbid an ugly apple, pear, banana, mango, off color head of broccoli or anything else for that matter.  The first inclination to choose is that which is pretty and uniform and without blemish.  Taste, longevity and danger are all secondary.

 

Deacon: What brought all this on?

 

Usher: Most likely TV and the press I guess.  Ugly people don’t make it onto TV so the world strives to be thin and pretty and perfect, just like the stars and their air-brushed magazine covers.

 

Deacon: Your point?

 

Usher:  Churches have followed suit.  They’re full of “gifted” orators, professional musicians, accomplished businessmen on the committees and so on.  Entertainment and accommodation are the criteria the humans migrate to.  In the meantime, the “leaders” have to have ways to measure.  They migrate to numbers.  Numbers can be substantiated and boasted about.  The laypeople want pretty programs, shows and great music along with gifted sermonettes.  The pastors want accolades, money to add staff to share in the work and build job security as well as grow their careers.

 

Deacon: So where is discipleship in all that?

 

Usher: My  point exactly! 

 

Deacon: Can discipleship function in today’s church in the midst of all the other stuff?

 

Usher: Not if leaders are bent on measuring their success.  This is where the problem starts.  If you take away the programs (you lose the crowds).  Take away the great orators (you lose the crowds).  Take away the money (you lose the crowds and the buildings).  Take away the professional musicians (you lose the crowds).  Take away the money (you lose the career-oriented staff) and voila!  Now you haven’t the distractions, nor the expectations, nor the crowds. 

 

Deacon: So you’re saying that crowds = success?

 

Usher That’s kind of what it all boils down to.  Ask the televangelists.  Crowds equal numbers, numbers equals money, money equals success and thus, God must be in it.

 

Deacon: So if there are no crowds, then there is no money, how does the church grow?

 

Usher: Christ had only 12 disciples.  He didn’t say things to the crowds to attract them or their money, in fact the largest crowds he attracted, he fed.  And then he said tough things to the crowds and the crowds left and he went about his discipling.  Scriptures say he wasn’t a “special” or “beautiful” person.  Maybe this was because he knew if he came to earth a beautiful being, then we would all feel insecure because we are all imperfect when we compare ourselves to “beautiful” people.  (Even beautiful people have proven this is true.) He discipled imperfect people and the church survived all these years without “perfect” people.

 

Deacon: So this is why the church seems to be portraying itself to be the “perfect” or “blessed” one?

 

Usher: A discipler works with the ground that he’s on, with the people God gives him.  He sees everyone a precious gift from God.  He is challenged to bring out God in these people no matter their lot in life.  Every member has a place in God’s kingdom, but not in man’s.  Today’s church seems to “market to the people who want to be like us” creating sects and divisions and exclusivity.  Thus the 35,000 denominations.  In an environment like this, everyone strives to become like the leader, the perfect carrot if you will.  Except they don’t know he is just like them if you take away the steroids, the pesticides, the pretty packaging and the artificial coloring.  In essence, the church normalizes and cripples the body and discipleship empowers the body.  If pastors didn’t care about credit and measurement and they truly wanted the kingdom to prevail, they’d do all within their ability to empower the kingdom.  This would eliminate the focus of one pastor to many and bring on the every man a minister.  The church would then become the all-powerful organic vehicle it was in the first century.  A true discipler as mentioned in comments above operates under the radar.  They seek no glory.  They thrive on seeing the kingdom multiply itself.  They rarely take titles, they urge their disciples to follow in their footsteps and become disciplers. They are often unrecognizable in a crowd.

“Real” Reasons We Pay the Pastor…

October 6, 2008

Usher: Deak, I’m not much for payin’ pastors, but lots of today’s nuclear families are. 

Deacon: Most people think a pastor is worth his wage.  What’s your point?

Usher: Well, here are some of the real reasons we pay the pastor….

  • To buy the matzas for communion – because we don’t know which brand to buy
  • To put up with Margaret the secretary who’s there because the last pastor wrote her into the bylaws
  • Visiting “Vinny” in the hospital – we don’t know Vinny and going to the hospital smells!
  • To run the business meetings – what a waste of time – I’ll never go to one of those again!
  • To deal with Mikey the youth pastor who botched his college career and has no other way to make $$
  • To be the arbitrator between the “hymn lovers” and the “boomers” who prefer contemporary worship
  • To manage those A-personality girls who run the VBS every year – oh they are so annoying
  • To counsel Fred the “want-to-be elder” who cannot seem to ever pass up a request for prayer or a recommitment of his faith
  • To field the complaints of the blue-hairs on “what’s for Wednesday night dinner”
  • To attend the Wednesday night dinners
  • To hire all the “yes” men for the deacon board
  • To attend the leadership meetings and settle all the trivial arguments amongst the “yes” men
  • To have dinner with all the visiting missionaries – especially the translators – who can relate?
  • To counsel all the troubled wives – note we said wives – cause their husbands never come
  • To approve the worship list and settle the disputes between worship leaders
  • To read the announcements for the same 12 people who care about the announcements
  • Last but not least – to prepare the sermons I can never recall and to pray for the same 10 people who request it every week

Deacon: Your view is slightly cynical, Usher.

Usher: If you’re readin’ this, let us know what your pastor gets paid for?????

New Church Checklist (How people really judge churches)

July 17, 2008

Deacon: Usher, what do you think people really look for when they’re choosing a new church?

Usher: The real list or the lip-service list?

Deacon: The real one, of course.

Usher: From what I can gather, here’s the list:

1. Kid’s programs (Sunday School, VBS, youth groups, mission trips)

2. Worship quality and preference (contemporary or traditional / AV quality and crew)

3. Daycare

4. Facilities (gym, meeting space, location)

5. Parking

6. Distance from home – driving time?

7. Preaching quality (Is he funny, smart, punctual and non-condemning?)

8. Coffee and fellowship food quality

9. Are the people friendly?

10: Age of people – are they “our generation”?

Death by Association (abridged version)

July 15, 2008

In response to an anonymous blogger who was trying to figure out the mechanics of “blended’ worship

(sorry for such a long post – don’t fall asleep readin’ it)

Usher: What in the world do we tell her?

Deacon: You’re openin’ up Pandora’s box Usher

Usher: She asked

Deacon: Up to you

Usher: WEll Betty, what you’re trying to do cannot be done.  Even though you think buzzards can’t sing, we did worship for 30 years.  Once we found out what we are writing below, we gave it up and resorted to worship amongst ourselves in meetings without liturgies and order, titles and assumed leaders, programs, building funds and goofy directions dreamed up by people who have never lived in the trenches).  It goes kind of like this……

Worship in today’s church is about performance.  Don’t be offended if you believe you are a true worship musician.  You probably are.  Regardless of your heart or intent, it’s not about that, it’s about the platform.

A little history for you…Music in the church (not the worship spoken of in the Word) originated out of pagan and Roman culture in the 3rd century.  Choirs were trained and put in place to perform for the Eucharist.  Preceding Constantinople’s times, Christians were not recognized, but Constantinople actually made Christianity an honorable thing (prior to his time, Christians were persecuted).

Music in the church also fits into the traditional liturgy established partly by Paganism and partly by the Catholic Church in the 6th century (look up Will Durant) by the monk Gregory the Great.  If you study this you will find there is almost no difference between the “liturgy” or order of worship in any denomination of church as we have come to know it (Catholic or Protestant).

So now to the answer of your question:  People want what they prefer and no matter how hard you try, blending a worship will lukewarmly satisfy both sides of the fence.  Why do people prefer hymns over contemporary?  Because they associate their times of being touched by God with music.  This is human and has nothing to do with the spirit. Yet, it’s all we can do.  We resort to the grand times of the past as part of our human nature (So you want to go back to Egypt?)

Me and Deak call it “death by association”.  Typically each generation prefers the music of their youth.  Because music has such a short shelf life, you have two or three camps in any church with a large congregation.  After you endure the same people from each camp critiquing your worship every Sunday for about 10 years, you’ll come to know that it’s no use.  You cannot please man and no matter how hard you try, it will never work.  If you resort to pleasing one or the other, the ones you please will stay and the others will be disgruntled at best or simply leave and go where their preferences reside.

Hopefully you’ve made it this far and are over the fact that you’ve probably engaged in something dear to your heart, yet realize that if what we say is true, it could be all for nought.  It’s not all for nought!  If you are a true worshipper, then worship Christ outside the “church that man has built”.  Worship him in freedom outside any order man establishes or pushes on you.  Be encouraged in finding those who just want to worship, to sing a new song and not to perform.  Your personal relationship with Him is all that matters.  The confines you have experienced in this “church that man built” are extreme, debilitating and stifling.  The church of the 1st century didn’t know any of these.  Today’s generation is finding this out.

God Bless,

Deacon & Usher

Excerpts taken from Pagan Christianity?  Frank Viola George Barna (Chapters 3 and 7)Copyright 2002, 2008

Worship or Performance?

June 18, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, how can corporate worship be anything but performance?

Deacon: Usher, it’s about the attitude of the heart – one cannot judge one’s heart – only God can

Usher: Yeah, but only the musicians and leaders participate – the congregation simply mouth the words and follow the leader

Deacon: Again Usher, you cannot judge

Usher: Let’s do an experiment Deak, I’ll sing and see if anyone shows up?

Deacon: Usher, you can’t there’d be noone left!

Usher: Proves my point Deak – corporate choreographed worship is performance!

Does God Do Rap?

May 19, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, you take in that worship on Sunday?  I thought I was back in the 70’s on a rock stage

Deacon: Yeah Usher

Usher:  What’s up with that?

Deacon:  Usher, we have to accommodate all of the body

Usher: You mean the “boomers” of which you’re one

Deacon:  What’s wrong with that?  After all, it was an Amazing Grace rendition

Usher: I thought worship was for God – does He like hymns, contemporary or rap the best?