There’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Let me explain the why first, and then I’ll explain the thought. Ok. So first, I’m a worship pastor. I spend my Sundays on stage and my weekdays at a desk, planning, contacting, scheduling, rehearsing, apologizing and drinking coffee. There’s part I. Part II is this… What is it about the post-seeker movement* that bugs me so much? There’s something about that ‘group’ or ‘movement’ or whatever it is they call themselves that makes me want to shower and read a hymnal. I’ve come up with a list of things that I think really drive me crazy, and I’ll share it with you here.
1. “Reinventing” hymns by adding really stupid choruses or changing the rhythm enough to screw up the congregation.
2. Using terms that are obviously made up, like, “I left it on the stage,”** which infers telling the truth or something.
3. Hair styles that are supposed to look like they’re not washed, but in fact, are washed and conditioned and styled.
4. Blogging daily thoughts, set lists, guitar polish techniques, coffee bean roasting problems and beard progress.
5. Deep cut V-neck tee shirts.
6. U2, though sometimes wonderful and full of truth, is not always appropriate for congregational participation.
7. Deodorant isn’t a sin, and cologne isn’t ‘poison.’
Now that I’ve shared my list of issues with the group, let me put to words what I guess truly bugs me (over and above the rest). I think when I look at a set list for a worship team, I try to get a feel for what kind of church it is by the songs they sing. And lately I’ve noticed that this type/style/sect of church tends to stick to a very specific vein of worship songs. In a 5 song setlist, there will be 3 Hillsong United songs. I love that group. They put out wonderful music. But I’m pretty sure they’re not the only people that put out worship music. And a lot of it is hard to sing along to. But that band wears tight jeans, has beards and uses funny terms when describing themselves. For the other two songs in the setlist, I’d be willing to bet that there’s a Chris Tomlin song, because everybody gets down with Chris Tomlin… and because he loves to rock the slow jams to Jesus (and how are you going to get people to come down to the altar without a Tomlin song?!?!) The other song in the setlist is ALWAYS, WITHOUT A DOUBT a hymn. It always starts with just a voice and maybe an acoustic guitar. Then as the song hits the chorus (or just before), the whole band kicks in and people raise their hands. Nothing wrong with instrumental dynamics or singing hymns or raising hands. All of those things are wonderful. But the setlist is 100 times out of 100 the same. I don’t know what the deal is, but I think I’m gonna hold off for a few more years before using that equation.
Am I alone here?
*The post-seeker movement is the group of churches that typically label themselves ‘outside the box,’ spell words strangely in their church name, call their sanctuary something weird like Conversation Promenade, brew and drink coffee that comes from places only Willy Wonka has heard of, and all seem to look like they need a bath.
** Everybody knows that the term, ‘I left it on the stage’ means that somebody farted on the stage.