I must apologize, I think, for leaving this site more or less vacant these last few weeks. I struggle as a blogger, because my creativity seems to come in bursts, so I wind up having ideas for like 4 posts in one day… maybe I’ll figure out how to time them, so it’ll go live by itself.
Music Business post: I took an ad out in DCI program book for my composer page for $50. The ad gave my site and a code with which to download a free score and mp3. ( a free piece of music for a school band) It has proven only moderately successful, though on the first night somebody I’ve never met acessed and downloaded the packet. Somehow I thought it’d get a better response than 1.. but it’s early. We’ll see. I think my name in print is still probably a useful tool for building awareness.
Another reason for my absence of posting is that I had gotten pretty worked up over the theology of the arts stuff, which sortof came to a head a the GURUs conference in Louisville. I had some great conversations with folks, many of whom think similar things, which was encouraging. The bigger thing I came away with was a better understanding of the folks who are making these decisions. Many of these tech/vid teams have like 72 hour production cycles. They don’t have the luxury of story-boarding, or bringing in a teaching pastor to help them with keeping their metaphors theologically sound. They get a phone call mid week (or later) and have to have content on the screen by 9am on Sunday. Every Week. After having all these big-picture conversations, it felt very unfair to attempt to simply criticize what these hard working and dedicated volunteers were doing. Anyway, heres a letter I sent in this conversation this week. Stephen is Stephen Proctor of worshipvj.com.
I’m sorry to answer your question with a question but here’s long set up.
I’m hesitant to saw away at the lone leg that supports production budgets and allows for Creatives to have full time jobs crafting worship experiences… That one leg, of course is the “it reaches the lost”. Were it to crumble, the entire worship/megachurch complex would collapse.
Now you and I know that a 10k manhour countdown never brought anybody to christ by itself, if at all, but that 26 year old motion graphic artist would be plying his trade elsewhere if the elders hadn’t bought into the thought that a more awesome bumper could save somebody.
There’s something to be said for “crafting worship experiences” – but I think that’s essentially the AP version of “building a better show.”– something these undertrained, under-paid, over-worked, theologically ignorant tech servants have neither the time, nor the patience for.
Do we want to saw off the leg that holds up the stool we’ve jumped off?
I’m excited about these conversations, but it really matters to me that this not just be a Critique of the church, because what I’d like is a conversation, not a monologue.
I would push back softly, and with wisdom. “in what way do your cool visuals lead the hearts of the lost towards christ? do they support the message thematically? do they draw worshippers into communion with christ? … ”
The experience should draw people to either: the Grace found at the Crosss, Christ’s love for them, God’s love and creation of them, or the fellowship of believers. (feel free to add to the list)
I think the “vibe” we create does a lot to draw and retain guests and visitors. They need to feel represented & cared for. Impressing them is not inherently bad. The vibe may draw someone into relationship with the church, but I don’t think it draws them into relationship with Christ. But it’ll get them to come back.
The vibe of the church I go to is why I stayed. The preachings a little flat at times, but the culture of the place, and the kinds of people that go there is why I stay.