(Once a week, I try to remix an old post that I feel was just average)
A few months ago, a friend that works at a big church told me about a new service they were starting. The conversation went like this:
“We’re about to start a new service called ‘the Zone.'”
“The Zone? Is that just the new name for your contemporary service?”
“No, we’re still going to have a traditional service and a contemporary service, this is a brand new format. This is the Zone.”
“What does that mean?”
“It’s kind of like the contemporary service, but it has more electric guitar. It rocks a little harder than the contemporary service.”
(At this point, if I had been more honest I would have said) “Then why don’t you just name it ‘the more electric guitar’ service.” (Or I could have said) “That’s it, I’m officially starting my own church.” (Instead, I said) “Oh. I see.” (And then proceeded to throw an imaginary smoke bomb and roll out of the room unseen.)
We like creating new services. We like putting our hymnals in the closet and getting a graphic designer with a nose ring to create a new logo for the “iXtreamtastical Zone” service. And we do it because we think you want it that way.
You don’t like hymns. We know this. When you come to church for the first time and you see a musty off red hymnal, you’re a little disappointed. We understand. You want something more upbeat. More “today” if you will. More “phat” as the kids are saying. You want us to “put on for our city” as Young Jeezy would say. So we created “contemporary” services for you. And by that, I mean we added a drummer to the stage. His name is Darren and he used to be in Journey. OK, it was a Journey cover band called “Oh Sherry” which doesn’t even make sense because that was when Steve Perry was solo but Darren’s a good guy. He’s in a fishbowl. And for a while everything worked well. We sang a lot of Chris Tomlin. I mean a lot.
But that wasn’t enough. You wanted more. (Insert your own cowbell joke here.) So we hired a consultant with frosted tips and a cool business card. He told us that we need to push the envelope and think outside the box. He said we needed more synergy with our community and that we had to shift our paradigm. He said we had to be more “impactful” which is not even a real word. It felt like he was just saying fake sentences and words until he wore us down. It worked, we gave up. We got the lasers. We got the smoke machine that sets off the fire alarm every now and then. We’re going to sing Coldplay’s new song “Viva la Vida” this Sunday. Maybe we’ll do Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” soon too. We even made Bono type sunglasses mandatory for our worship leader. But now he can’t see the words of the songs and sometimes sings “How gray is our God” instead of “How great is our God.”
We hope you like it because we’re at 11 on the scale of 1-10 when it comes to rocking out. We can’t rock any harder. This is it.