How can a Presbyterian Church, one over 150 years old, institute a new method of service, while retaining the important and historical aspects of a deeply traditional denomination? That is now a challenge I am to discover, uncover and resolve; along with a team that will hopefully grow and include anyone and everyone interested in creating a healing, loving, welcoming and flowing service of worship.
The root of this issue began more than a year ago, after CHPC’s Worship Minister resigned. The church was in the throes of a silent upheaval. At the time I was drumming from Sunday to Sunday, as a means to serve the church in the only meaningful way I knew. They drug together a new group of leaders and attempted to plug up the wounds. The service quickly adapted into a “contemporary” service, by means of music that was “contemporary”; but a service structure that was still very traditional.
For a few months the attendance remained solid and the volunteers to sing and play with us were fairly strong. Then the complaints began to pile, and the pressure to “fix” the unknown problem mounted upon us — as the only distinction from the previous service up till now, was us and our “new” music. Fundamentally, we would never succeed. Attendance dropped. Musicians fled. And we began to get disgruntled.
The many many months of talk of the impending “huge” change our church would go through massive overhaul of all the services were we are put into a nice little package died. Flopped. Vanished. Our head pastor left, the congregation depleted; the church was in a spiral.
I felt, as I’m sure many did, that it was either time to move on or demand a change — and change seemed unlikely. Sonya felt that she was back in the old pattern of her life – to be emotionally manipulated and hurt, and barred from addressing or acknowledging that there was in fact any problems at all. She and the kids started to attend 4 Corners (and have loved it). I felt I still had a mission (or call or whatever) to see this through till I exhausted my options.
(long pause …. was temporarily interrupted by that life stuff)
Not more than a week ago we (the worship team) met with the three pastors (one interim, who’s taken the reins and has ushered in an attitude of change, transformation and action – although I sense a great deal of hesitation and reluctance). Here we presented the issues and the resolution. They were, to our surprise, very receptive and gave us a mandate — make this happen. But, first it must get by session. Ho ho, ha ha. Session. Where action dies. I see them telling us that there is too much to do; too much to plan, too many people to get involved — that it requires more planning, more time. More inaction. People are hesitant to change; blah blah blah. To which I can only say bullshit. Change happens and people adapt. What people hate is being yanked around with empty promises and cry-wolf attitude, with meetings and agenda\’s to market the perfect package to them, without something actually getting done. Say what you mean, and then do it. That is my goal. If by January I am not playing at 5:30pm in the Fellowship Hall to 20 people, the church will have yet again stifled movement toward healing. Regardless, it’s only a matter of a few weeks where I can once again go to church with my family.