Author Topic: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?  (Read 43720 times)

Weedon

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #300 on: February 09, 2011, 10:11:21 PM »
An erstwhile ALPB contributer posted this: 

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/01/ps-i-hate-you-part-1.html

I LOVE it!

revdsid

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #301 on: February 09, 2011, 10:20:21 PM »
No, I am from Detroit, all pops are different kinds of Faygo. My seminary (St. Louis) friends may correct me, but we always referred to anything that wasn't Lutheran or Roman Catholic to be reformed. Of course, that gets confusing around Western Michigan were RCA churches are "Willow", Presbyterian churches are "liberal",  CRC churches are "conservative", and United Reformed, Protestant Reformed, Reformed Baptist and Netherlands Reformed are,like, REALLY reformed! But back to Rob Bell and Contemporary Worship.

The irony for me of CoWo is how both fundamentalist "Bible" churches and very funky "Emergent" churches can play the same music. If you look at the top 100 on CCLI over time you will find it is very conservative--the rankings hardly change. A new song or two will bump another song or so out of the top ten, but the body of the "hymnody" is very static. It is essentially a very "conservative" hymnal of a type. My hypothesis is that most "contemporary" texts are First Article of the Creed kinds of songs. It is much harder to tell a story about Second Article themes in a few words (that can be projected in PowerPoint). Again, Third Article is a bit easier. That means a wide range of theologies can proclaim, "How Great is Our God". So Mars Hill in GR can use much the same music as "Beltline Bible" or "Fifth Reformed".

So then, you can attract Generic American Protestants by singing music they know and like but, they can just as easily flow to the next church with the "hot" preacher or "hot" praise band. I am not interested in worshiping GAG-- Generic American God by presenting AGAPE -- Another Generic American Protestant Experience. I would rather go through the hard work of teaching new people the value of Lutheran Worship and thereby retain them over the long haul rather than take the easy course of pretending to be something we are not. I don't really care for organ exclusively and I don't enjoy most of the old chorales so I don't think we need a monolithic approach to worship either.

My old consultant career still haunts me some days regarding the concept of competitive advantage. A firm with a product or service can have a broad market that competes as a low cost provider. Or a firm can be highly differentiated and compete as a high value provider. No firm can survive long "stuck in the middle". In the middle of Minnesota or Missouri the Lutheran church might be the "community" church for its location. But in most of the U.S. the Lutheran church serves a small niche within the churches in the community. If we lose that niche by trying to broaden our appeal by becoming more "generic" then we had better have the money and the talent to compete with the "big box" churches on their scale. I think Lutheran churches that can play at that level are a handful. Most of us are better off being the "high value" provider rather than the "low cost" one. A praise band full of sixty year old baby boomers playing "Our God is an Awesome God" is not going to be snicker proof. The current Worship Leader magazine has a feature on training your "Worship Producer"! Now, how many of our churches have a Worship Producer?

pr dtp

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #302 on: February 10, 2011, 01:21:30 AM »
No, I am from Detroit, all pops are different kinds of Faygo. My seminary (St. Louis) friends may correct me, but we always referred to anything that wasn't Lutheran or Roman Catholic to be reformed. Of course, that gets confusing around Western Michigan were RCA churches are "Willow", Presbyterian churches are "liberal",  CRC churches are "conservative", and United Reformed, Protestant Reformed, Reformed Baptist and Netherlands Reformed are,like, REALLY reformed! But back to Rob Bell and Contemporary Worship.

The irony for me of CoWo is how both fundamentalist "Bible" churches and very funky "Emergent" churches can play the same music. If you look at the top 100 on CCLI over time you will find it is very conservative--the rankings hardly change. A new song or two will bump another song or so out of the top ten, but the body of the "hymnody" is very static. It is essentially a very "conservative" hymnal of a type. My hypothesis is that most "contemporary" texts are First Article of the Creed kinds of songs. It is much harder to tell a story about Second Article themes in a few words (that can be projected in PowerPoint). Again, Third Article is a bit easier. That means a wide range of theologies can proclaim, "How Great is Our God". So Mars Hill in GR can use much the same music as "Beltline Bible" or "Fifth Reformed".

So then, you can attract Generic American Protestants by singing music they know and like but, they can just as easily flow to the next church with the "hot" preacher or "hot" praise band. I am not interested in worshiping GAG-- Generic American God by presenting AGAPE -- Another Generic American Protestant Experience. I would rather go through the hard work of teaching new people the value of Lutheran Worship and thereby retain them over the long haul rather than take the easy course of pretending to be something we are not. I don't really care for organ exclusively and I don't enjoy most of the old chorales so I don't think we need a monolithic approach to worship either.

My old consultant career still haunts me some days regarding the concept of competitive advantage. A firm with a product or service can have a broad market that competes as a low cost provider. Or a firm can be highly differentiated and compete as a high value provider. No firm can survive long "stuck in the middle". In the middle of Minnesota or Missouri the Lutheran church might be the "community" church for its location. But in most of the U.S. the Lutheran church serves a small niche within the churches in the community. If we lose that niche by trying to broaden our appeal by becoming more "generic" then we had better have the money and the talent to compete with the "big box" churches on their scale. I think Lutheran churches that can play at that level are a handful. Most of us are better off being the "high value" provider rather than the "low cost" one. A praise band full of sixty year old baby boomers playing "Our God is an Awesome God" is not going to be snicker proof. The current Worship Leader magazine has a feature on training your "Worship Producer"! Now, how many of our churches have a Worship Producer?

I would suggest that if you went onto CCLI and search for cross, resurrection, forgiveness, redemption, crucified, you would find a lot more 2nd article than you are noting.  First Article would be less.  It also weighs heavily in favor or adoration/worship as opposed to catachesis/testimony.

Then again, Luther didn't say he who sings teaches twice...

revdsid

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #303 on: February 10, 2011, 09:01:21 AM »
Good response. Some examples of the best 2nd Article (in your opinion) would be both interesting and helpful. Give me good structure, text and tune and I'll use it assuming the arrangement is within the competency of my music team. (And they are pretty good.)

So, what would be a top ten of "contemporary" music that would add to or reinforce or theology-- and not merely be neutral? (I know we can sing a psalm in any style and the text is unarguable.)

George Erdner

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #304 on: February 10, 2011, 09:41:57 AM »
I would suggest that if you went onto CCLI and search for cross, resurrection, forgiveness, redemption, crucified, you would find a lot more 2nd article than you are noting.  First Article would be less.  It also weighs heavily in favor or adoration/worship as opposed to catachesis/testimony.


If a music publishing company existed that had all of the traditional hymns from all of the hymnals of all of the Christian faith traditions that existed, would you not find a similar ratio of hymns that weren't really suitable for Lutheran worship? CCLI is the same kind of smörgåsbord of contemporary christian songs for all faith traditions. It should surprise no one that a pan-Christian enterprise that provides Christian songs for all faith traditions should have more songs for non-Lutheran faith traditions than it has for Lutherans. That situation is as old as the Christian music publishing business. It doesn't prove anything, other than the same care must be taken in picking modern songs for Lutheran worship use as was taken when approving which hymns to include in Lutheran hymnals and which to leave out when any of the Lutheran hymnals were compiled.


FrPeters

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #305 on: February 10, 2011, 10:03:11 AM »
Quote
So then, you can attract Generic American Protestants by singing music they know and like but, they can just as easily flow to the next church with the "hot" preacher or "hot" praise band. I am not interested in worshiping GAG-- Generic American God by presenting AGAPE -- Another Generic American Protestant Experience. I would rather go through the hard work of teaching new people the value of Lutheran Worship and thereby retain them over the long haul rather than take the easy course of pretending to be something we are not. I don't really care for organ exclusively and I don't enjoy most of the old chorales so I don't think we need a monolithic approach to worship either.

My old consultant career still haunts me some days regarding the concept of competitive advantage. A firm with a product or service can have a broad market that competes as a low cost provider. Or a firm can be highly differentiated and compete as a high value provider. No firm can survive long "stuck in the middle". In the middle of Minnesota or Missouri the Lutheran church might be the "community" church for its location. But in most of the U.S. the Lutheran church serves a small niche within the churches in the community. If we lose that niche by trying to broaden our appeal by becoming more "generic" then we had better have the money and the talent to compete with the "big box" churches on their scale. I think Lutheran churches that can play at that level are a handful. Most of us are better off being the "high value" provider rather than the "low cost" one.

Exactly.... next door to us is a large Baptist congregation with more mics than Shure, screens and projectors, a paid praise band, the generic handsome and attractive male and female lead singers and a stage that fits its CoWo format.  If we tried to emulate what they do, we would look foolish in comparison.  Now we are not small by Lutheran standards (300 on a Sunday).  But we are the only game in town with sung liturgy, large traditional choir, large pipe organ, high content Biblical preaching and teaching, and weekly Eucharist.  What sense is there for us to even offer CoWo as an option when we cannot match the big guns (of which our next door neighbor is but one of many).  So, cast theology aside, it is a marketing nightmare to try and be what they are.  We have Lowes and Home Depot in town but we also have two very highly successful local DIY centers -- why?  Because they do not match Lowes and Home Depot but compete in different ways and in different markets. 

Now I am not granting that there is no theological weight in our arguments -- there is -- but for those who won't go there, why do you insist upon ignoring the marketing wisdom of those who know the realities of competition.  Furthermore, the CoWo folks are not really competing for the same unchurched folk but actually competing for the same church changing, fickle Christian population that loves new things and quickly tires of them, moving from place to place in search of what they do not know... until they happen to enter our doors.

I had a young man (25) whose father was a Baptist preacher and he was looking for a more old time gospel hour style baptist congregation when he wandered in to visit us.  He sat in the pew for about six months watching, half scared to death, and yet attracted to what he had never experienced before -- the liturgy and a Eucharistic piety.  He went through membership class twice and ended up saying that his mind told him to leave many times but his heart knew that what he was experiencing in the liturgy and hearing from the pulpit was the truest form of Christianity he had ever experienced.  He said he heard the Gospel here for the first time...  -- just one of many such stories...
Fr Larry Peters
Grace LCMS, Clarksville, TN
http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/

George Erdner

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #306 on: February 10, 2011, 11:18:26 AM »
Exactly.... next door to us is a large Baptist congregation with more mics than Shure, screens and projectors, a paid praise band, the generic handsome and attractive male and female lead singers and a stage that fits its CoWo format.  If we tried to emulate what they do, we would look foolish in comparison.  Now we are not small by Lutheran standards (300 on a Sunday).  But we are the only game in town with sung liturgy, large traditional choir, large pipe organ, high content Biblical preaching and teaching, and weekly Eucharist.  What sense is there for us to even offer CoWo as an option when we cannot match the big guns (of which our next door neighbor is but one of many).  So, cast theology aside, it is a marketing nightmare to try and be what they are.  We have Lowes and Home Depot in town but we also have two very highly successful local DIY centers -- why?  Because they do not match Lowes and Home Depot but compete in different ways and in different markets. 


Pastor,

Does the fact that a smaller Lutheran Congregation that only has about 100 people worshipping per week, and only a 15 voice choir and an electronic organ mean that since they can't do a major production high mass with intoned chants and all the big-church trappings of the traditional liturgy with big choir, pipe organ, and all the other things that make a big-church service like yours what it is, they shouldn't bother trying to incorporate as much of traditional liturgy as they can?

Some of the best contemporary music worship services I've seen in Lutheran churches were only about 20 or 30 worshippers, a "praise band" that consisted of a single acoustic guitar, unamplified, and solid Biblical preaching of the Gospel.


mqll

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #307 on: February 10, 2011, 12:07:26 PM »
An erstwhile ALPB contributer posted this: 

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/01/ps-i-hate-you-part-1.html

I LOVE it!

Just to nail this down then Wil: How would you evangelize this person? Hm? What would you say to them?

The problem with the article is that he is wrong. Most of our unchurched population don't hate Jesus. They might hate the church. They might not really see any reason to go to church. But they don't hate Jesus.

Or are we making a theological point of this? Ultimately, they do hate Jesus if they reject His church? That could certainly be true but then, it changes the whole point of his post: they think they love Jesus when they really hate him.

I don't buy it.

George Erdner

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #308 on: February 10, 2011, 12:32:23 PM »
An erstwhile ALPB contributer posted this: 

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/01/ps-i-hate-you-part-1.html

I LOVE it!

Just to nail this down then Wil: How would you evangelize this person? Hm? What would you say to them?

The problem with the article is that he is wrong. Most of our unchurched population don't hate Jesus. They might hate the church. They might not really see any reason to go to church. But they don't hate Jesus.

Or are we making a theological point of this? Ultimately, they do hate Jesus if they reject His church? That could certainly be true but then, it changes the whole point of his post: they think they love Jesus when they really hate him.

I don't buy it.

I'd add this related question. Where would you evangelize this person? How would what you do inside the church building on Sunday morning impact or influence someone outside the building on Sunday morning? Do you make an effort to encounter this hypothetical person somewhere outside the church? Assuming this person isn't the personal friend of one of your members, do you just write him off as unreachable, or do you beat your members around the head and neck to get them to start making more personal friends outside of the church?

Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #309 on: February 10, 2011, 12:43:02 PM »
An erstwhile ALPB contributer posted this: 

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/01/ps-i-hate-you-part-1.html

I LOVE it!

Just to nail this down then Wil: How would you evangelize this person? Hm? What would you say to them?

The problem with the article is that he is wrong. Most of our unchurched population don't hate Jesus. They might hate the church. They might not really see any reason to go to church. But they don't hate Jesus.

Or are we making a theological point of this? Ultimately, they do hate Jesus if they reject His church? That could certainly be true but then, it changes the whole point of his post: they think they love Jesus when they really hate him.

I don't buy it.

I'd add this related question. Where would you evangelize this person? How would what you do inside the church building on Sunday morning impact or influence someone outside the building on Sunday morning? Do you make an effort to encounter this hypothetical person somewhere outside the church? Assuming this person isn't the personal friend of one of your members, do you just write him off as unreachable, or do you beat your members around the head and neck to get them to start making more personal friends outside of the church?

And I'll add this related question.

Why didn't Jesus run off after those in Capernaum who found His teaching hard and beg them to return?

Mike

George Erdner

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #310 on: February 10, 2011, 12:59:16 PM »
An erstwhile ALPB contributer posted this: 

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/01/ps-i-hate-you-part-1.html

I LOVE it!

Just to nail this down then Wil: How would you evangelize this person? Hm? What would you say to them?

The problem with the article is that he is wrong. Most of our unchurched population don't hate Jesus. They might hate the church. They might not really see any reason to go to church. But they don't hate Jesus.

Or are we making a theological point of this? Ultimately, they do hate Jesus if they reject His church? That could certainly be true but then, it changes the whole point of his post: they think they love Jesus when they really hate him.

I don't buy it.

I'd add this related question. Where would you evangelize this person? How would what you do inside the church building on Sunday morning impact or influence someone outside the building on Sunday morning? Do you make an effort to encounter this hypothetical person somewhere outside the church? Assuming this person isn't the personal friend of one of your members, do you just write him off as unreachable, or do you beat your members around the head and neck to get them to start making more personal friends outside of the church?

And I'll add this related question.

Why didn't Jesus run off after those in Capernaum who found His teaching hard and beg them to return?

Mike

Have you been hanging out with Stoffregen?

Jeremy Loesch

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #311 on: February 10, 2011, 01:04:16 PM »
"Why didn't Jesus run off after those in Capernaum who found His teaching hard and beg them to return?" M. Gehlhausen.

Mike, I chose not to re-post the whole string of quotes, but instead picked yours.  I'm not singling you out, although it may appear that way.  There were several quotes responding to the blog piece that Rev. Weedon linked us to.  

Why didn't Jesus run after those who left?  He preached and taught and many left.  They left on their own.  I dare to presume that if Jesus went after those who left our Lord would have preached the same hard truth.  And I dare to presume that the response would have been similar.  I believe the blog piece stated that people are tired of not getting any credit for their salvation.  Jesus may have died on the cross, but why does he get all the credit?  I want some credit.  It's my credit when I don't believe, when I leave the Lord of my youth.

How and where to evangelize those who "hate" Jesus?  In the comment section of Rev. Fiene's blog, I think he was asked what his response would be.  The answer was "Live your vocation."  Everyday we are put in positions to live the Gospel that has reached us.  Sometimes my eyes and ears are open, sometimes I'm distracted.  My distraction is my fault.  

And I do think that "hate" is the right word.  Rev. Fiene used it appropriately to describe matters.  The Church dares to do what it is given to do.  The Church dares to point to Jesus and call him the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  In labeling Jesus, we label ourselves.  There is the Savior.  Here are the ones who need saving.  And a fair number of churches have abdicated their awesome and glorious responsibility of calling sinners to repentance for the forgiveness of their sin.  

I am in the Amen corner of the blog piece.  People are shunning all churches- high church, mid church, low church, small church, big box church, urban church, rural church, suburban church.  The world hates the Church that dares to hold up the cross.  I'm not the first to say it, but I know the truth of this thought- When sin is minimized or diminished, so is the need for Jesus.  Who needs a savior when there are no sins to be forgiven?        

Maybe I would say that Jesus did run after the people who left.  Jesus' running was just in the direction of Calvary, carrying a cross, carrying my sin.  

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #312 on: February 10, 2011, 01:11:51 PM »
Pr. Loesch,

Thanks for grasping my point and understanding that it was not meant as a red herring to divert productive discussion.

Thank you also for fleshing it out as I would have loved to but had no idea how to do.

I agree with you and the blog.  We live out our vocations.  Sometimes, those vocations give us an opportunity to share the Gospel with others.  Sometimes, they permit us to forge relationships that as a side benefit encourage us to invite people to church -- not because the relationship was a means to an end; it just happens.

And sometimes, I believe simply living out our vocations in a Christian manner is a confession in and of itself.

Mike

George Erdner

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #313 on: February 10, 2011, 01:19:44 PM »
Pr. Loesch,

Thanks for grasping my point and understanding that it was not meant as a red herring to divert productive discussion.

Thank you also for fleshing it out as I would have loved to but had no idea how to do.

I agree with you and the blog.  We live out our vocations.  Sometimes, those vocations give us an opportunity to share the Gospel with others.  Sometimes, they permit us to forge relationships that as a side benefit encourage us to invite people to church -- not because the relationship was a means to an end; it just happens.

And sometimes, I believe simply living out our vocations in a Christian manner is a confession in and of itself.

Mike

So, are you saying there is no place for intentional evangelism? Did Jesus say, "Go therefore and lead Christian lives, and the all the nations will become disciples because of your example, without you actually having to make any intentional or deliberate effort."?

That sure makes evangelism a lot easier for us, doesn't it?


mqll

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Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #314 on: February 10, 2011, 01:32:19 PM »
Jeremy Loesch,

How and where to evangelize those who "hate" Jesus?  In the comment section of Rev. Fiene's blog, I think he was asked what his response would be.  The answer was "Live your vocation."

What if your vocation is to have CoWo? :)

I don't mind the attitude of "Live your vocation." I just want people to realize that they are called to the vocation of "Witness to Christ" not just plumber, student, etc.

My issue with the piece is that it mixes theological and sociological positions. The fact is that people look at the church and are disgusted. And not merely because they hate Jesus. But because the church to them is worthless.

The position of the article is that the church doesn't have to worry about this. I hold to the position of unChristian and Dan Kimball and think that we can indeed act different and should do so in reaching out.

I also hold to the postion that it is illegit to say "Well, God just wanted Europe to gradually drift to a rejection of Christianity and there is nothing we on earth can do, so we might as well not try." I find that too many people are pulling out pre-destination arguments in relationship to evangelism and ending up with a soft-fatalism attitude.

The fact is that the church can indeed present itself and its message in a winsome manner.