Am I the Grinch who stole Christmas carols? I had some people ask me to do Christmas carols during our worship at Roosevelt Community Church. As a staff member of a church that practices and obeserves the Advent season, this brought up a few Questions for me:
What is the true job of the ministers of the church?
Is the true reason to appease the congregation? Should we say “give them what they want”, or should we liken our job as ministers to teach what, how and why we believe as Christ followers? As a staff member of a church which follows the church calendar, only to find themselves in the middle of Advent, then I believe this is a great teaching moment. What if we taught the idea of patience in the midst of the season of antcipation. otherwise, to put it semi-crudely, we experience the climax without the foreplay. It’s just straight to the money shot and we don’t realize what had happened in between it all.
As an artist, what am I to do?
Do I simply go with the congregation, or do I challenge them to think? Is that not the purpose of the worship leader – to help people think, see, and experience Jesus in different ways? Maybe we need to push people outside of their comfort zones. Instead of singing the familiar tunes of “Angels We Have Heard on High”, we challenge people in experiencing the anticipation through the ideas of “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”.
What tears me apart as an artist is I want to challenge people, but on the other hand I have to think about the feelings of the congregation. So what can I do? Do I feel like a sell out, or keep the integrity of the season? I opt for the later, myself. Which draws another question:
Why couldn’t there be more accesible ways of explaining the Advent season?
Really, in teh singing world, you are stuck with a handful of songs that describe teh Advent season…about three I believe – the two more recognizable being “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” and “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”. After those two you need to be creative. I’ve written an Advent specific song that we share as a congregation, and have allowed artists to share in teh past through visual arts of painting. I wonder if, you who are reading this, you have any ideas? If so, please let me know.
I would say that I am the farthest from being grinchy. I start my Corporate Christmas ways on November 1st. I listen to music and tour around Target looking at the lights and decorations that have been made by children and prisoners from foreign countries (that’s a topic for a whole other post). I just want to teach my congregation just a little bit of restraint. I want to have one place where they can reflect and not be sucked into what they are hearing outside of the walls of our little church. Somewhere where they can learn a little more about their faith. Call me crazy, but that just might be what the church service was designed to be.