The Venue Vortex

One of the strategies of leading corporate worship gatherings for our church community is to provide diversity in the worship styles we provide.

As some churches simply have one specific style (progressive, traditional, blended, etc.), we in turn have determined due to the long tradition of our church, the wide generational gap of worshippers, and the cultural trend of customization, that providing variance in our worship gathering offerings best suites our DNA.

However, one of the “cultural connection concerns” comes with our venues.

By venue we mean a smaller, worship gathering that meets simultaneously to the main worship gathering, elsewhere on the campus. The advantage of our current venue is that it allows attendees to experience more progressive, band-led worship, with the sermon broadcast in live from the main worship center (NOTE:  The worship experience from the main worship center is more traditional and hymn-based).

But here’s the problem of contextualization I have been hearing:  a disconnect between the music style and the communication style.

That while we have created a venue culture that is more progressive, casual, and informal, the sermon is then piped in from a place where the preacher is in a setting very traditional, rigid, and formal.  This dichotomy is apparently creating a divide in the hoped style, feel, and customs we are seeking to establish within this alternative venue.

If you were in charge, how would you solve the problem?  Is it even a problem to be solved?  Should we simply give up on seeking to create a truly holistic, progressively distinct, worship culture and settle for a stylistic blend?

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~ by Dave Smith on May 25, 2009.

6 Responses to “The Venue Vortex”

  1. I think there is definitly an answer….A progressive – MOD preaching pastor for this contemporary group in the other part of the santuary where they are meeting for their worship….maybe the same topic/scripture that is covered in the traditional service …but more of a modern…contemporary delivery by the pastor….more visual….casusl…informal….The progressive group will be hearing the same message but in a more relevant delivery……Isn’t that what Christ would do…???

  2. If the goal of a “venue” is to create a truly distinct worship service, then I would think that live, in-person, teaching in the desired style is a must. If one church in two locations is a good thing, why not two churches in one location? 🙂 In that regard, is acommodating the cultural needs of the vietnamese community (at The Chapel) through a distinct “venue” any different than acommodating the progressive/contemporary cultural “needs” that exist?

  3. Very interesting point about the Vietnamese community.

    I wonder though if we would say they are truly a part of The Chapel?

    The other issue I keep wrestling with is this issue being that our position or philosophy is that the pulpit is the main place in which the pastor can communicate his/her vision for the church.

    If this is the case, I wonder if it makes more sense to have one strong communicator that can easily adapt to various contexts. In regards to the cultural disconnect with the live broadcast…I am wondering if a more casual environment should be create on Saturday night, to then be recorded and played in any Sunday am casual environments.

    Random thought.

  4. I wonder though if we would say they are truly a part of The Chapel?

    That’s a great question and it gets at what is probably the biggest downside to over-segmenting, over-accommodating into various cultural venues (based on ethnicity, music preference, location, or otherwise). Oh the philosophical roads we could travel down, discussing exactly what makes The Chapel “The Chapel”. 😀

    As a personal preference and having attended other churches that have offered the main message in some video format, I can’t stand a pre-recorded video or even a simulcast. There really is no substitute for the speaker live and in person. Of course, finding and keeping enough strong communicators that can communicate in the venue style would be a challenge (not many speakers are going to be able to adapt to the various contexts and do it well, I think).

  5. not sure how I want to say this without sounding negative…but I think the staff and volunteer resources could be better used on Sunday Mornings rather than in different venues 😦 It’s an hour! Why not have one venue in the sanctuary, each hour a different worship “style”. Then as people start to break out into smaller “communities” they can find the style that best fits them. I think the venues contribute to even greater division in an already large and segregated congregation. Just one persons opinion 🙂

  6. really good point.

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