Just Scratching the Surface!

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I was reading an interesting article by my blogosphere friend Chris Elrod entitled “Why Can’t We Have Hymns?”, and I found his argument very interesting.

He writes,

    “I truly believe that this is one area where the Church’s obsession with chasing culture has caused us to throw the baby out with the bath water. As a pastor of young families and 20-something art freaks I understand that the world is a different place today…there seems to rapant ADD and warped speed living. The general mantra of life today is “give it to me now the way I want it”. But following Christ doesn’t work that way…disipleship takes time and stretching. I’m afraid in our effort to reach society we have dumbed down many things in church…including the music. Instead of raising the bar for people to live life above this world…we have brought it all down to a level that reaks of mediocrity.”

Let me tell you why I feel his thoughts ring very true to ‘most’ of Christians and Churches today.
Up until just a few months ago, I had been the Worship Pastor at what is considered to be a Mega-Church. I, and my Music Director, had decided to introduce the hymn ‘O Worship The King’ (Chris Tomlin’s version) to the congregation. After singing the hymn the second week, I was told by the Pastor and Executive Pastor that we couldn’t do that song anymore. When I asked why I was told, “Because it is way over people’s heads, they can’t understand it”.

Now I will admit, we do have a large contingency of simple country folk around here. Heck, I was raised about 10 miles from here in a little town called Cut-N-Shoot Texas. But, this is by no means a community of a bunch of dumb rednecks. We still understand the english language.

The main problem with the Modern Chrisitan Society is that we have too many churches ‘Just Scratching the Surface’ of the Gospel. They have a tendency to stick to a 3 point sermon with a list of 5 things you can do to be a better husband, father, mother, wife, or parent.

Where is the discpleship? Where is the exploration of the deeper realms of God? Have we become too lazy in this drive thru and get it now culture?

Is this truly the state of Modern Christian Society? Have we become a culture of people who want the same formulaic psuedo Christian mumbo jumbo fed to us?

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About Jimmy Eldridge

I am a husband, a father, a son, a brother and most of all, a follower of our most gracious savior Christ Jesus. Who are you following?

12 thoughts on “Just Scratching the Surface!

  1. I believe we way under estimate the intelligence of the people we worship with. They could have caught that hymn no problem

  2. Good post. My mind goes back to Paul & Silas sitting in a cold, damp Philippian jail cell with whip marks on their back. When they started to sing at midnight I don’t think they were as concerned about hitting the write notes and making sure the tenor carried to the other end of the prison hold, as much as they were sincerely worshipping God. In the day we’re living in, we’re less concerned with genuine worship and more concerned about how it will be received by those around us.

    You can do your best to cover up what’s not really there – sound effects, lights, smoke, sound systems, etc… People are thrilled, but I would imagine most times the praise/worship doesn’t even reach the ceiling in God’s view.

    It is hard to believe that churches are now using trailers for next Sunday’s service, and doing their best to tailor it to the tastes of the world. Very sad, because it is essentially saying that the simplicity of the word of God and Christ Jesus isn’t really enough in themselves.

    From what Chris Elrod wrote, it appears he has an understanding of why the Lord rebuked the church in Laodicea. All the trappings but very little substance.

  3. Hey Paul,

    My moto with worship has always been ‘do everything with heart and excellence’…the worship leaders/musicians were to be ‘skillful’ according to scripture.

    I am all for churches doing what they can to ‘promote’ what is happening or what is coming up…the problem is that MOST are just barely ‘scratching the surface’.

    In order to be relevant MANY chuches turn fluffy and formulaic.

    That is what is sad!

  4. BTW….I really admire Chris especially because he is not afraid to speak his mind and doesn’t necessarily care if you like what he has to say.

    I also like that he is doing church the way that works for them….and what they do will not necessarily work for someone else.

    He is a big proponent of finding what works for your area and doing that well.

  5. I endorse your motto as well. I think the problem is that in the course of time, excellence, creating impressions and trying to go over the top has diminishing the effects on the heart (maybe not in theory, but definitely in practice).

    There is power in simplicity and excellence. But people don’t want simplicity – they want to be WOW’ed. That’s why we have all these “themed” services. We must constantly feed the need for the new and exciting.

    The problem with the whole seeker-friendly thing is that people seem to be forever fed milk – or just “scratch the surface” as you say. Their is the veneer of growth (small groups, serving, etc) but Christian maturity (genuinely yielding to the Lord, becoming LESS worldly, etc) is seriously lacking. Bible knowledge is almost next to nil for many people who have been in churches for years – amazing.

  6. Paul,

    There are those out there who want to be wowed…but there is a movement of modern christians who want authentic, relational, passionate, christianity.

  7. I watched the video…I don’t agree with the use of that song….that is most definitely a stretch.

    I have however used a secular song in a service to help illustrate a sermon topic on Heaven…the song we used was by ‘Los Lonely Boys’ titled “How Far Is Heaven?”. (also recorded by christian group Salvador)

  8. Bottom line: in a quest to be relevant, the growth many are experiencing is nothing more than the result of clever marketing and enticement, not necessarily the preaching of the Word and the moving of the Spirit (as it was on the day of Pentecost: they were PRICKED in their heart, not impressed by Peter’s diction, stage presence, pre-service show, etc)

    We should glean from scripture that people are not converted by witnessing mighty miracles or being fed (from ancient Israel to the days of Jesus to the days of Paul). In the same way, I would think that people are rarely converted by being impressed, feeling comfortable and, “yeah, this is a church that feels good to me.” It is the inward man’s need for salvation that Christ meets.

    Seeker-friendly churches focus on the surface more than anything (not that any would admit that), keep people pumped and excited, but rob their folks of the true riches that can be found in knowing Christ.

  9. Chris,

    Read your post on your blog and agree with you 100%.

    We never did the hymns the traditional way…we always modernized the music somewhat.

    The lyrical depth of the hymns is what I was driving at with my post.

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