Media Cool…God Bad?

21Aug07

So, I am excited about the next 2 weekends at Table Rock. We are going to be spending 2 weekends talking about unwinding. If you want to see the bulletin for the series, head over here. I am excited because we are reaching out to the neighboring community. We have invited neighbors to join us. I am excited about visitors, people who don’t come to church, people who have never been or would never go back because of what the church has been to them.

A couple of us were talking about who we are as a church this morning. We aren’t cutting edge and innovative like Lifechurch. We aren’t charismatic like Fellowship Church. We don’t have the money that Lakewood has. And you know what…who cares. I am not discounting any other ministry, I am accounting for who we are and who God has asked us to be. When we started the church, Pastor Tom prayed that God would use Table Rock to be a refuge. A place for hurting, broken and dismissed. When we evaluate what brings people to Table Rock, sometimes we can say it is the teaching or the music. But people most certainly say it is the “come as you are” attitude and welcoming spirit. God has given us the desire of our hearts for Table Rock. We are a refuge.

I love media (Audio, Video, Projectors, Lights, Online Web Tools…Blogs!) But none of this should ever be why people come to our church. Hopefully I say this correctly so it makes sense. What should draw people to God’s family is the people of God’s presence in the community around them. If people come to Table Rock because we have great sound or cool videos or loud music, we are breeding expectations that draw attention away from the message of the Gospel. People come to church expecting good sound, great videos and loud music. When we don’t deliver, they leave or even worse they just stick around and complain. But, when people attend Table Rock because we are a church that welcomes them as they are, expressing our interest in them as people, and then we turn around and care for them in their need, I believe those people will be changed by God’s Spirit and will turn around and do the same. They will hear the message of the Gospel (whether by word or deed).

Media is a powerful and dangerous tool for expressing the message. It is something we use weekly and will continue to communicate the gospel. But, Table Rock will not be a church that fluffs up the gospel message with lights and sound just to attract visitors. That’s the day, I need to reevaluate my leadership as a Worship and Media Pastor.

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14 Responses to “Media Cool…God Bad?”

  1. Hi there… I just stumbled across your blog and thought I would make a couple of comments (feel free to ‘take them or leave them’!). First off, you say that you are not cutting edge, innovative, or charismatic. I would ask and challenge you: WHY AREN’T YOU? Innovation is making something new and charisma is defined as great enthusiasm. Jesus was creative and innovative with his teachings and the gospel is the most exciting thing I know that is out there… Shouldn’t the purpose of the Church be to present the gospel in a creative and exciting way to reach non-believers so that life change can happen?

    Your last paragraph really struck me though. You stated your Church “will not be a church that fluffs up the gospel message with lights and sound just to attract visitors”. Wait a second… don’t you want to attract visitors to your Church so that your Church will grow and reach more and more people? What if you used lights and sound just to attract visitors and then once you got them in the door, hit them with the incredible news that Jesus loves us and wants us to have eternal life and then LIFE CHANGE HAPPENED???

    Look… I used to be “that guy”. I was the guy that pushed away from Church because I grew up in Church and it was so boring and I never understood the gospel (not saying that is a reflection of your Church at all, just telling you what I grew up with). Then, I was invited to come to a Church that was innovative, creative, and exciting. Guess what… that excitement (and yes, even the cool music) made me want to come back. I kept coming back and the messages starting getting to me and it finally hit me and I accepted Christ into my life. Jesus rocked my world!

    I don’t mean to shoot you down or anything like that… just giving honest feedback based on my experiences to your honest blog post that you put out there. Take it for what it’s worth, and I do pray that God will use you and your ministry to impact hundreds of thousands of lives!

    Thanks for your time,
    John.

  2. Hay John – First of all, thanks so much for coming over and discussing this.. Interaction on blogs is a huge thing for me and I like to see others a part of it.

    As to your comment, you are absolutely correct. Yesterday as we were talking, the focus was what people say attracts them to our church. We get the music, teaching, creative comments all the time. Where our discussion went is being innovative or creative for the sake of keeping up with the “Jones’s”. That is the really the heart behind what I was just writing to. We are pleased to see that people are sticking around because of the community, not just the media and music.

    I really appreciate all you have just written, because it is to me a confirmation of who we are in innovation and creativity. I believe we are innovative , creative and a little loud ๐Ÿ™‚ We have done this purposefully to be excellent at what we do. We want people to walk into our services and never want to leave because of how much effort we have put into them seeing and hearing the gospel of Jesus. We want people to be blown away ny who our God is and for them to see and hear our Passionette love for Him. I believe our church is on the cutting edge with what we do. My hope is we will always focus on being the church in our community instead of just a church that is cool.

    I wish you were in our area. you are exactly the kind of person with background and passion for what is excellent that I would love to learn from. Thanks so much for this discussion.

    Feel free to check out our website, listen to some teaching and check out the link in the post to the flickr account and look at some of the graphic stuff we are doing. I’d love to hear your thoughts. I am excited about the creativity. I hope it shows.

    http://www.tablerockfellowship.org

  3. 3 Greg

    Here is my two cents worth. I like the look and feel of this, your WordPress site, much better.

  4. YOU ROCK.

    Thanks for your comments, they were uplifting to me especially given that I just re-read my original comment and felt like I was too harsh (think my passion got the best of me). Also, I was speaking as someone who has never visited your Church (and probably never crossed the border into Oregon either)… so basically I was only going off of the words in your post to give me a picture of what was happening in your Church, and that picture in my mind was probably not accurate. Anyways, thanks for the open discussion!

    I will check out your webiste and pics.

    In Christ,
    John.

  5. Thanks Greg

    John – You were not harsh at all. Have at me. I am an open book. Let me know what you think of our material.

    if your ever I Oregon, feel free to say hey!

  6. 6 kassota

    wow, that was sweet guys! way to play nice…

    kidding – it’s hard to read into someones personal thoughts accurately sometimes – then to write them out clearly sometimes is even harder. i love the open discussion here!

    B, i don’t want to be logged in as “kassota” i want “tam” back…help me….

  7. Got you covered Tam – I’ll call in a few and we will figure it out. And why wouldn’t we be nice ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. 8 tam

    you have smiley faces!!! do i?

  9. 9 lazrus2

    So, is ‘passionette’ (see comment #2) a petite passionate person, or a regular sized person who’s just a little passionate? I prefer the former definition personally!
    Yea, I know it’s not one of your strengths (spelling that is). I agree otherwise though.
    D-

  10. ya D – I am not sure I will ever be really strong at the speeling thinng.

  11. 11 lazrus2

    Well, so far it’s been interesting to see how God (or is it just me?) can speak through your ‘mistakes’ to make them mean something totally different than you intended, huh? ‘Sort of like double prophecies in the Word perhaps? I like the challenge myself since he often does that with me too to say what He really wants me to hear instead. Actually, ‘speel’ is a word that means ‘climb’ and becoming ‘really strong’ at that just takes some disciplined training, focus, and getting over a fear of heights, I think. (Maybe that could apply to worship too, i.e. “I’ll walk closer now on the higher way?” =)!
    D-

  12. Wow, no pressure, I am not sure if I should use spell check now? ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. 13 lazrus2

    Naw, it’s more fun without it.

  14. Agreed!



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