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New Forum Suggestion - "Off The Job" Literally ...

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  • New Forum Suggestion - "Off The Job" Literally ...

    After exactly one year at a church with the most advanced and most exciting instrument I have ever presided over ... well the new pastor wants to take the church to the Praise and Worship dark side. He wants us ready to go by September 1st. The Praise Band as of this writing is his wife who is a competent drummer. Long before he came along the church had been trying to establish a Praise Band. It has never come together. It's just not that kind of congregation. It skews seriously towards the senior side in age, and musical talents skew towards orchestral instruments when there is any musical instrument experience at all.

    I wouldn't love it, but I could tolerate them going to the dark side if they left the organ in place for me to practice during the week and IF they had a Praise Band I could jam with in Worship. What I don't understand is pushing this change on a congregation that cannot and will not understand it and will just sit there on Sunday. That is if they don't just leave. Many won't. It's their church. It's where their friends and sometimes family are. They'll stay, no matter what. But if they aren't using the organ, or choir, and even piano is kind of optional ... how long before they start to wonder why they are paying me to be there?

    I'm starting to think that I need a new career that is Pastor Proof. I am at this church because I was fleeing a bad pastor at the previous church. I am tired of running. What kind of work can a 60 year old with no Higher Education credentials do that will keep them out of churches and their capriciousness? It is a serious question.

  • #2
    Oh dear... this sounds like a complicated situation. Do you have a committee or elders or another group of people who're there to give advice and help make decisions whom you could talk to?
    Have you talked to the pastor and/or his wife about the options? I remember one recent thread that talked about mixing different styles - maybe that would be something you could suggest?

    Regarding the general question of what kind of work you could do... I'm afraid that wherever you go, you might encounter people with rather "inventive" behaviour. It's not limited to the church. I used to work as staff manager at a company where they wanted me to set up "a professional HR department". I started doing my work but had to quit after 18 months because the general manager (and company owner) didn't like what "professional HR" was doing and kept putting obstacles in my way. In another company, my boss told me that he thought I was thinking too fast and thus scaring my team. He probably didn't want to say that I scared him.
    I am self-employed now and now "only" have to deal with strange clients from time to time.

    Thoughts and prayers for you!


    • #3
      Well, that's a revolting development! Sorry to hear of yet another pastor being led astray by the forces of the dark side. With that sort, it does little good to talk about what is wrong with the praise band movement -- many pastors see it simply as the "salvation" of the failing church, a way to (ostensibly) build up attendance and extend the life of a declining congregation. Few if any are ever willing to look back in history to the 1960's when this all got started, and consider what I've been preaching for decades now -- perhaps the church never needed to go "contemporary" to "save" it from decline. What was needed then and now was/is a return to authentic worship and music of genuine power and beauty, not a cheap substitute offered by the profit-driven pulp music industry AKA "Hillsong" and "Maranatha" and "Vineyard" etc.

      Barring the ability to head this off completely, you MIGHT have enough influence to persuade the pastor to adopt a truly balanced "blend" of music. Several monts ago, my own church, of which I was so proud for maintaining a nearly pure "traditional" or "historic" service, felt the need to eliminate the second hour of worship and offer a single unified weekly service. In so doing, we felt we had to integrate at least some of the "contemporary" style music that had been at the core of the second service. We have done this fairly successfully while maintaining the basic integrity of the service, and here are some of the things we have done:

      (1) the primary contribution of the "praise team" from the old contemporary service is to provide a 10-minute period of "praise" music at the beginning of the service, more or less taking the place of the old organ prelude (which I was glad to give up, since I'm not a program player anyway). This period of "warm up" music is enjoyed by many of our people, and has come to feel like a fitting way to enter the spirit of worship. We major on the reflective style of modern songs rather than the overtly rock-style.

      (2) We also have given the leader of the praise team a role in the more formal part of the service -- singing an occasional solo (he accompanies himself on the piano or keyboard), having him play once or twice a month during communion, and occasionally provide the closing song at the end of the service, but only about once every couple of months since we only sing three hymns in a normal service already. His contributions have actually taken some of the load off me, letting me do a better job on the parts of the service that I always do -- directing the choir, playing for the processional and the other hymns of the service, providing most of the service music, postlude, etc.

      (3) We even went so far as to install screens above the chancel, which is quite the accommodation to modern worship, but we have in fact enjoyed having them, as they let us put up scripture texts as they are read, display announcements before service time, and even (gulp) have the words to the hymns up there as we sing, which turned out to be nice for the choir as we process in, and seems to have at least slightly boosted congregational singing on the hymns!

      For me, the compromises are mostly worth it, as we immediately grew the size of our crowd by about 50% and we brought into the traditional service several families with young children. We had previously had NO children at all in our traditional service, so having the kids and even the noisy babies is a real joy to me!

      But if your pastor insists on going fully "modern" and minimizing the organ to the point that you feel redundant, you may have to look afield for a place of service. Personally, I totally gave up on the Baptists (the denomination I was raised in) years ago because they are just a lost cause, totally sold out on the modern worship model, which is not surprising, given that before that they were sold out on the "Gospel music" model and pretty much hostile to what I now embrace as historic worship. For a while we worshiped with a "CBF" Baptist church, which was a lot more traditional than most Baptist churches I had been in before that. We eventually found a home and place of service in a Disciples congregation that leans heavily toward traditional/historic worship, though a great many other Disciples congregations have gone pretty much modern. We just had to keep looking until we found the right place for us. Modern worship has infected a lot of the Methodist and Lutheran churches here, greatly narrowing the choices for folks looking for traditional worship.

      You might have to look even harder in your own area to find a church that isn't going to pull the rug out from under you. Episcopal churches are pretty solidly committed to historic worship, and you may find your talents much needed in that denomination. So don't despair, just do your best and keep your chin up!

      *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!



      • #4
        That is truly a sad situation !!! Is this a young pastor, trying to make "his mark" on the church ? From your description of the attempts at the dark side so far, I would be inclined to think that this effort will fail also. But the question is how long will that take ? And will the congregation be ruined by this foolishness ?

        Why would a church invest in a nice Rodgers organ, and then allow this to happen ? If you think about it, your new pastor is demonstrating poor stewardship of resources the congregation already owns !

        Some of what could possibly be done to stop this before it starts has a lot to do with your denomination, and how the church is governed. If it is by a board of Elders, you might have some chance of reigning in the pastors ideas. If it is a pastor Runs the church alone situation, I don't see much hope.

        I know it is not polite to put churchly things in a monetary perspective, but I will anyhow. If the congregation really will not go for the dark side style, they will leave, and so will their money. When enough leave, the congregation goes broke. And pastor dark side has no job.

        In my church body the board of Elders could stop something like this. But that is not the case with all churches.

        I guess that is not much help to you - sorry.
        Regards, Larry

        At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.