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  • Adding contemporary service to our Sunday schedule

    Good morning friends,

    Wanted to throw this out to the group. Our church pastoral staff has been praying about and discussing dropping our Sunday evening service for awhile now. The evening service has dwindled in the past years and over the last three months we've averaged about 25-30 in our evening service.

    Along with that, there is also some discussion about adding a contemporary service to our Sunday morning schedule. So our regular service would become a more "traditional" service (hymns, etc.) and the contemporary service would be modern praise and worship music.

    What I'd like to find out is if any of you folks have gone through that transition in your church of adding a more modern service, and what, if any, barriers or struggles you were faced with.

    The first thought would be to have a traditional service around 9am, then Sunday School around 10:15, and the contemporary service after SS, probably around 11:30. I'm sure through discussions the times will be tweaked a bit, but I'm just throwing that out as an example.

    So, who has gone through this before in your church, and what are some things we should be considering.

    As far as the musical aspect of things, it's thrilling for me to know that there will be a set time that we'll be able to worship with hymns and the more traditional music, and then another set time that we'll be able to stretch our tents a little with the modern praise music. I have to admit I'm nervous about the planning aspects of it, but I'm also excited about the possibilities that are being put in our path.

    I would appreciate all who would comment on what your church, your music ministry went through during such a transition/change.

    michael

    p.s.

    I might add to this that currently our Sunday morning services are blended musically, and even though we've been doing that for a few years now, it still meets some kind dissention from different congregation members.
    Last edited by Michaeldt; 10-22-2012, 09:14 AM.

  • #2
    As somebody who has been on staff at two churches who have attempted both a traditional and a contemporary service, what you are about to do will either create a schizophrenic church or two completely separate churches. Either way, you will no longer have one healthy church.

    Nate
    Practical Worship

    Please Pray For My Wife

    Comment


    • #3
      There are going to be different experiences and different things to consider.

      The biggest one to consider- will this ultimately move the church forward in reaching others for Christ, or will it hinder? We can do a lot of things for our own convenience or appeasement and justify it one way or another.

      Sunday evening service- our church gets about that many as well. However, those that are there are treated to a more interactive, deeper and thorough preaching/teaching than a standard AM service. The people who are there are deliberately there- they made a choice to seek out more of God's word. Also, our PM service is often attended by those who can't make the AM service because they work a weekend shift. It's not always about leadership's convenience. Keep that in mind while making the decision to end the service. There are a few options

      - What are people getting out of it? Is the preaching/teaching growing people, or is it more obligatory, like people are there because it's open?
      - What will the church gain spiritually by ending this service? How will this help people grow their walk with God?
      - Are there needs that will be unfulfilled, such as those who work, those with other reasons not to attend the AM service? For example we have a couple of people who attend our PM service because their health condition makes the AM service run a higher risk of them being injured by all the kids we have running around.
      - What does the Bible say about it?

      -From our perspective, the thought process is pretty simple. We are living in a time where the church, Christians, and religion as a whole is under attack. More people are hurting from bad relationships, substance abuses, and the world filling their lives with a bunch of self-destructive vices. Do we (as in my church) think a proper response to this situation would be to have less church? We don't think so.

      As far as having two services, I know there are some that try it, but the ones I know of in my area that try it usually abandon it about a year or so later. They found out it was basically maintaining and pastoring two churches and it caused more problems than it cured. They tried to appease the older generation who were grumbling about the change and appease the younger who want to hear more Tomlin and guitars. It has a HUGE potential to backfire and no one is pleased, and with all the extra drama, about 1/3 of your church leaves. Again, I'd ask the questions-

      - How will this help make my church stronger, and move forward in Kingdom work?
      - Will having these services unite my church or further divide it?
      - What does the Bible say about it?

      p.s.

      I might add to this that currently our Sunday morning services are blended musically, and even though we've been doing that for a few years now, it still meets some kind dissention from different congregation members.
      You will ALWAYS have people complain about something. That's a pretty weak reason to make that drastic of a change. You can't lead a with a goal of trying to make everyone happy. If you start appeasing complainers, others will complain and everyone will think they can get their way.

      As far as modernizing service, 90% of it is communication. Lay out a plan to move forward. Take time to explain and listen to concerns. Be respectful, but lay it out as -'here's where we are at, here's where we need to go, here's how we are going to get there. I appreciate where we've been, but it's time to move forward'.

      Also, do it in phases. Let people adapt to it. Give them opportunities to get involved. Let them feel like part of the process. Don't blindside people with it.

      Be prepared that some people will leave. Don't sweat it. If they want to be hard-hearted and stubborn, that's their choice. It's also a sign of spiritual immaturity. They aren't going to be happy with anything. You can pray for them and be sad to see them go, but you can't give in to them if they throw a tantrum like a spoiled teenager that's going to 'run away' if they don't get what they want.

      Hope this helps,
      Mike
      If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

      Comment


      • #4
        The church I used to attend has had 2 separate services for the last 15 years with just minor grumbling.
        I really don't see the issue there. Everyone finds the service that fits their schedule.

        Comment


        • #5
          There are always exceptions, but unfortunately my experiences have been similar to Nate's. Many traditional churches that add contemporary experiences end up with divided congregations. One or both of the services end up under resourced, and animosity begins to develop. Or the leadership overestimates the support for contemporary styles in the current congregation.

          I love all styles, but my general opinion is that each church should focus on the style that most identifies with its people. I think it's okay to be a great traditional church. I also think it's possible to be a healthy church with both styles, but these churches seem to be the exception to the rule. Ultimately, only your church will be able to figure out whether or not it's the right move for you, but I would proceed with caution.
          Eric Frisch
          www.ericfrisch.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Well to throw the cat among the pigeons so to speak, I have been involved in Churches for the last 8 years who have at least two if not three totally different services per Sunday, and one even four, and they often had people attending more than one of them. The Church I attend now is the only one I have been to that does not do that, and it is more divided than any other Church I have ever been to! I don't personally think that a Church being divided has any relevance having differing services.

            In the past I have attended Churches who had a traditional service earlier, a contemporary service later and an evening partial outreach or youth orientated service for the evening and sometimes even a mid-week totally outreach focused service. They were all well supported and they all had a purpose.

            I think personally that something you would have to consider, is something that we have had drummed into us at Bible College this semester, and something close to what I think someone else has already said on here, if you are going to do something, there needs to be a good reason - our tutor calls it being "intentional". I agree with what else has been said, you need to plan, discuss and get people on board. I also agree that some will leave, but so be it. You can never please some people, sadly.

            On another note, we are blessed at the Church I am at now, to have even 20-30 people at our main service! So I guess numbers are all relevant, and if you consider how Jesus told the parable about the 1 lost sheep, it shows how much he thinks about numbers... each one of us is important to him.

            Blessings, Suz

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by efrisch View Post
              I love all styles, but my general opinion is that each church should focus on the style that most identifies with its people. I think it's okay to be a great traditional church. I also think it's possible to be a healthy church with both styles, but these churches seem to be the exception to the rule. Ultimately, only your church will be able to figure out whether or not it's the right move for you, but I would proceed with caution.
              This. 100x.

              The congregation we are in had one blended service then changed to one traditional and one contemporary about 5-6 years ago or so. That was before we moved here, so we were not part of that. We have heard lots of stories from a number of people. One of the worst things that happened is that church leadership allowed people to be intensely critical of the "other side" and did not address that negative spirit. Going to two services of different styles has been successful on some levels and unsuccessful on other levels. In the "traditional" service, there are people who want more variety and more contemporary. In the "contemporary" service, there are people who want more variety and more traditional. People who think music needs to be their way still thinks it needs to be their way.

              My husband has served as interim music minister twice now during the time we have been here and we have both been actively involved in music the whole time we have been here (4.5 years). He puts a lot of effort into gently incorporating more contemporary music in the traditional service. And he also throws a few hymns (usually contemporary-styled) into the contemporary service.

              The leadership in the last couple years has worked hard to foster a spirit of unity among the whole body and intentionally planned multi-generational activities to help it not be "two churches in one building".

              The overall spirit of the church has been "improving", and after a lot of really difficult times, people are now starting to value the people and overall ministry of the church over the style of music. A lot of people have left in the process. And a lot of people have been hurt in the process.

              All that to say this: Can it be done? Yes. Should it be done? I don't know. Will it be easy? No way.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks everyone for your replies and experiences.

                I have to add this; I am actually quite torn about it personally. As a 40 something guy I grew up in a small, small, small baptist church singing all the traditional hymns. My exposure to praise music and contemporary music was not until well into my 30's, mainly because in my late teens and twenties I drifted away from church and my main diet of music was hard rock/country/jazz.

                When the HS started being more adamant in my life and God turned me around again, it was refreshing to start learning how to worship daily instead of just weekly, and now there was the already popular modern music. I didn't just flock to it and spurn hymns at all, but I have a love for both (which it seems some in our church are dead set on one style or the other). My personal worship in our church is not hindered because we're singing "The Old Rugged Cross", nor is it hindered because we're singing "Holy Is The Lord", but I find myself worshiping regardless of the songs played (and this was before I started serving as "the music guy" for our church).

                So I can admit to you folks here (hopefully some of you can relate) that it bugs me a little when I listen to someone say they cannot worship to hymns, or they cannot worship to modern praise music, they don't "feel it", or this music or that music only affects them this way or that way...when it is overwhelmingly clear that they are making a case as to what they want to hear or what they want to sing to....and bottom line (in my humble opinion) is that it's not about them, it's not about me, but it should be all about God. (OK OK......I'm ranting.........sorry)

                So as far as I'm concerned, we could keep our Sunday morning service blended (as it is currently) and I'd just be giddy about that, being able to sing and play a hymn backed up by a Paul Baloche tune, etc. . .

                I know I could be very comfortable in either setting, traditional, contemporary, blended, whatever; mainly because my main focus is helping our congregation turn our thoughts and our Sunday mornings to a vertical position instead of a horizontal position, and focus on Jesus instead of focusing on ourselves.

                There are a number of options to consider, even the option of not doing anything for now. I know our church leadership doesn't want to be callous to the desires of our members, but also I'm sure they are praying and consulting and wanting to provide the best possible aspects of worship for our members and guests who come and worship with us.

                So, I guess I've written a lot of words and not really said anything.........sorry

                Comment


                • #9
                  No problem! Sometimes writing it out is the best way to help you think things out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Michaeldt View Post
                    So, I guess I've written a lot of words and not really said anything.........sorry
                    Not at all! I can certainly relate to what you're saying, and I'm sure I'm not the only one here!
                    Eric Frisch
                    www.ericfrisch.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A lot of people have left in the process. And a lot of people have been hurt in the process.
                      One thing I'd like to add- in the situations I know about, it's the ones that bent ears and twisted arms the hardest to get this 'change' that are the most critical and negative of the results. Then they wind up leaving and taking others with them that are on their 'side'.

                      A good thing for your leadership to do would be to go to find the other churches in your region that have tried the 'traditional and contemporary' services- talk to them, see how it went. Find out what they learned, what they would do different, and if they would do it again. Don't try to reinvent the wheel.

                      The church I used to attend has had 2 separate services for the last 15 years with just minor grumbling.
                      I really don't see the issue there. Everyone finds the service that fits their schedule.
                      The main issue isn't multiple services- it's the type of services and why they are happening. Most churches in my area do an 'early bird' service and one mid-day. But they are basically the same service- same theme, same style, same songs, same message. Certain demographics seem to attend one over the other (usually younger people and many with young families like the later one), but that's a matter of lifestyle. The bigger issue is what the underlying issues are.

                      The church can be the masters of passive-aggressive behavior. Church people can be masters at the little sayings and cliches while engaging in hostile behavior behind the scenes. They can raise their hands and weep during worship, then Monday have little secret meetings badmouthing people in the church. Issues come up, communication barriers arise, and covert behavior aimed at serving personal agendas begins to dominate. The big, gray elephants in the room are not talked about in an open and honest matter. The culture becomes one of an iceberg- there is the small part you see on the surface, but there is this big, ugly, mass lying beneath what you can see that's steering the church.

                      Leadership contributes to this because so many times, people in leadership want to be in charge, but no one wants to take charge. No one has the fortitude to tell the manipulators and cancer-feeders 'enough' because they may 'give a lot of money' (one of my favorites) and their uncle/brother/dad/second cousin twice removed is an elder and they think they can get away with anything. I've talked with a pastor friend of mine that was so frustrated in a church he was at because the elders hired him to make changes, then wouldn't let him change anything (except what their personal agendas were), then blamed him because nothing changed. He finally resigned and left ministry.

                      All this being said because issues like 'we're thinking about adding a contemporary and a traditional service because people are complaining' can be the tip of the iceberg. I can't say whether this instance is or isn't, just be honest with yourself about it. If there are issues, you will be much better served by dealing with them head-on instead of passive-aggressive covertness.
                      If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I spent some time in my pastor's office this morning; this has been one my mind the most of the past few days since he and I talked about it last Sunday, and his as well. The question that I had asked God this week in prayer and meditation is this "are we doing something wrong? And if so, would you God show us where we can/should adapt and consider changing"?

                        So far there hasn't been an answer that we're (and when I say "we" I mean as a church) doing anything wrong. It is evident in our congregation to feel the Spirit of God moving in our services, and as a few of you folks have alluded to, the considerations for "change" are/could be mainly to appease a few rusty gates, and neither of us feel that is necessary right now. My pastor's statement was "we need to do what we do the best that we can do to glorify God in our services, but on top of that also in our everyday lives". I think that is one reason that this subject (when it comes up) hits me a little hard because as I'm learning how to worship more and more daily, when I enter into worship with our congregation, it is just an extension of what I'm doing every other day, except I'm attempting to help the members of our church worship corporately together as a unified church body.

                        I think he is still going to mention it in our next staff meeting, just to see what the rest of the staff (and possibly a few deacons) want to provide as far as input. He also wants to talk about our Sunday evening services with the Sunday evening folks, and see what their thoughts are, their opinions, their suggestions might be, and then see where that takes us.

                        The one thing I love about my pastor is nothing is done "right away", it's all taken in moderation, and prayed over, seeking God's will in what comes up, and then decisions are explained as necessary.

                        I do want to thank you folks for your input, and for allowing me the venue to rant a bit; I have become more and more passionate about serving God in the church I'm a part of, and even though my analytical side wants to keep emotions at bay, sometimes I get a little emotional when trying to pull or push some of our members into worship... lol

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hope we could help give you some perspective.

                          It's a good thing that people are being deliberate about this decision.

                          and even though my analytical side wants to keep emotions at bay, sometimes I get a little emotional when trying to pull or push some of our members into worship... lol
                          That's something I (and many of us) have been through as well.

                          As far as my own experience, I had to accept that no matter how much we want to, we can't worship [I]for[I] anyone. Even though it's a corporate setting, it's still an individual process to engage in worship.

                          I also learned that it's nearly impossible to interpret people's level of inner worship based on what we see as their engagement. I've known people who weep, hands raised, eyes closed, but it's like the hypocrites (root word is Greek for actor) Jesus mocked that put on the show on the street corner. They don't grow their relationship, their inner self is not engaged. Likewise, I know those who aren't the most animated or engaged on the outside, but inside, they are in the throne room, growing and changing based on their encounter. As a worship team and especially a leader, it's easy to get frustrated because people aren't displaying the outward emotion we might expect them to show, based on what we ourselves would do. What is a better gauge is the people's response after the music stops. Are they receiving the Word? Are they changing their lifestyle? That's where the rubber meets the road.

                          So don't spend a whole lot of emotional energy trying to 'push and pull' others into worship because people's outward response doesn't always reflect their inward worship.
                          If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mike on Bass View Post
                            Hope we could help give you some perspective.
                            I also learned that it's nearly impossible to interpret people's level of inner worship based on what we see as their engagement. I've known people who weep, hands raised, eyes closed, but it's like the hypocrites (root word is Greek for actor) Jesus mocked that put on the show on the street corner. They don't grow their relationship, their inner self is not engaged. Likewise, I know those who aren't the most animated or engaged on the outside, but inside, they are in the throne room, growing and changing based on their encounter. As a worship team and especially a leader, it's easy to get frustrated because people aren't displaying the outward emotion we might expect them to show, based on what we ourselves would do. What is a better gauge is the people's response after the music stops. Are they receiving the Word? Are they changing their lifestyle? That's where the rubber meets the road.
                            Yes, yes, yes.

                            I was talking to a friend the other day who has spent about 10 months trying to find a church. She was talking about how some places they loved everything, but the worship seemed stale and boring. Then there was one place where they loved the music and the freedom of the people during the music time, but everything else seemed very shallow. There was more to the conversation, of course, but I was trying to help her see that expression does not equal worship. There are lots of people who are very free with their expressions and are truly worshipping. There are lots of people who seem almost stoic or detached and are truly worshipping. And there are lots of people in both types that are not worshipping at all.

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