Cultural Conversion

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to deliver a sermon in one of our venue worship services through the medium of a panel discussion versus the medium of preaching (more to discuss about that later).  One of the panel members was a spunky grandmother in her 70’s, who has been going to our church since 1945.  Usually going to our traditional worship service, she was subjected to one of our more contemporary venues, suffering immediate culture shock.

Fortunately, the service went well, the panel did a great job packaging their story around the teaching of the text, and her humorous e-mail to her community group follows:

Our church has two preaching services at 9:00 a.m. One is called Classic (although I worry about that name. A Classic Service should at least have a banjo and mandolin in the orchestra). If you don’t have those instruments, then the service should be called Semi-classic. Could someone let our worship leader know that? The other service is Resonate which features contemporary music; both services have the same sermon as a rule.

Today a friend, my son, and myself were part of Resonate as panel. Our discussion was woven into the preaching service by one of our pastors. The panel discussed our friend’s victory over alcoholism and how he became a Christian. It also included our community group and how we supported him through all of this.

My eardrums are still resonating with the sound of the band. I now see that “contemporary” is another word for loud music. The hymns did have meaningful words but I think I may have to replace both of my hearing aids. The band played with considerable volume and enthusiasm. You sure don’t fall asleep in that service.

Many of you know that I am very traditional. However, yesterday I found out that a preacher can do an excellent sermon on Sunday morning and not wear a dress shirt and tie. Hardly a tie could be found in the congregation either. So evidently “contemporary” means out with ties and dress shirts.

Times are changing and the church must address these changes while still preaching the Word of God unchanged.

So I now know that the Word of God resonates through that auditorium — another meaning for resonate.  I was surprised how many individuals came up after the service and discussed addiction in their family or friends.  Some were touched our friend’s story and the way our community group stepped up to be the church in the community.

Well, as soon as my hearing aids come back from the shop, I will be operating on all gears. Hopefully it will be in time for the Sweet Sixteen NCAA basketball games to start. I love hearing the play by play while I watch it.. Did you know West Virginia made it to the Sweet Sixteen? There’s rejoicing today south of the Mason Dixon Line!

I good reflection of the older generations desire for their own worship avenue (& for us to maybe respect that), while having the ability to embrace and support more mainstream opportunities.


~ by Dave Smith on March 24, 2010.

3 Responses to “Cultural Conversion”

  1. That is one of the ‘sweetest’ things I’ve read in some time… How great you must feel… love to all

  2. Cool story. It’s nice to see a member of an older generation accepting the legitimacy of the younger.

    But, and this is purely, purely personal opinion — in my experience, that kind of thing happens more often than its converse.

    I find it amazing when members of the young generation discover the legitimacy and sincerity of the older generations.

  3. Yea, good point Ben. We definitely tend to stereotype…as I am sometimes guilty of.

    And Susan…thanks for the response! I finally got around to reading your comment on a former post titled, “Marriage Matters.” Great comments! I left my remarks tagged to yours. Thanks!

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