This post has two parts; news & reflection.
So first, I’ve got some news…
I’ve got a new job!
It has been a long time coming (further reading on that topic).
It seems I’ve been adrift in the sea of semi-retirement for quite some time.
But, alas, my feet have swung out of the boat and are firmly planted on the shore.
Anyway, enough poetic ramblings!
I’m going to be the contemporary worship leader at First Presbyterian Church in West Chester, Pa.
I could not be more excited and I’m really looking forward to this opportunity.
Provided my background checks clear, I’ll start April 3rd.
First Pres (what the cool kids call it) has an incredible music program with numerous choirs, talented organists, soloists and various other ensembles.
My role will be to assist in the launch of a contemporary service.
In a few months, First Pres will have three different styles of worship services each Sunday.
They currently have a chapel service as well as two traditional, liturgical services.
So, over the past week or so, I’ve been dreaming about the identity of this contemporary service.
I’ve run through question after question and had numerous dream sessions trying to wrap my head around the vision of this service.
That’s where the reflection comes in.
And an interesting thought popped up.
At some point I realized how I was viewing the contemporary service in contrast to the traditional service.
I’ll admit, for a long time, this was my perspective.
It can be easy to adopt as a marketing schtick and selling point.
New, cool church in response to old, boring church.
In many contexts, the worship band and casual dress can almost be badges of honor worn to demonstrate how different we were from “old, boring church”
It was as if we were saying, “They are outdated and we do things differently, better.”
Now, I’m not saying there is anything bad with casual dress, loud music, and relevant language.
Those things are good and what we hope to have in our contemporary service.
The problem is when we start pushing the old down to lift the new up.
It seems to me that we should be lifting both up.
Affirming the traditional and the contemporary.
Both the old and the new.
Less exclusive language.
Gone are the days when we are Jew, Greek, woman, man, slave, master, etc.
Dang, I almost started preaching there.
So, my hope is that we aren’t contemporary in reaction to the traditional.
But it’s more like we’re bilingual.
We’ll communicate differently with different people.
That is the nature of human conversation and relationships.
Why wouldn’t that be the way we do church?
It’s an inclusive posture.
It says, “There is room here for you.”
One of First Pres’ five values is Radical Hospitality.
I feel this service can be the perfect expression of that value.
We’ve planned for you to be here.
We know that some have different preferences.
We want to speak your language and we’ve taken the time to learn it.
So let’s chat.