Pleased to Meet You!

Preparing to go to press with a brand-new magazine is a lot like taking the final classes of Lamaze birthing techniques with one's spouse. There is a great spirit of anticipation and a wonderfully positive attitude toward the coming of each new day. This is how we've been feeling at Christian Sound and Song as our team prepares to release our first issue.

The project concept was a direct outgrowth of the experiences we had in a real praise band -in a real church - dealing with real issues. These are the birth pangs of Kingdom building as we approach the new millennium. Perhaps not since the first century has there been a more fertile mission field - people needing to know the message of Christ's love and saving grace. And these same hungry souls are not [Sunday] schooled in the early memories of stained glass windows, nor in a strong foundation of Judeo-Christian values. That's just the problem. A new generation is at risk of growing to adulthood without having spent Sunday mornings in a church.

But this same generation, and many of the baby boomers who have been through enough corporate restructuring to have a legitimate reason to be cynical, have a huge common denominator: music! And not the kind taught in obscure academic quarters, but the kind they've sought out on their radios since Chuck Berry cut "Sweet Little Sixteen". Don't let anybody fool you - rock and roll really is here to stay. (Be careful not to break the bubble of some of the staunch traditionalists in your church.) Music can therefore be the nectar that draws in many of today's unchurched bees. Bell choirs truly are charming and have their place, but is a tapped-out boomer parent (let alone a hung-over Generation X-er) going to come through your doors on Sunday morning to hear the bell choir's latest variation on a melody unfamiliar to them in the first place? This underscores the importance of integrating an approach to music with a mission to maintain and grow the church. Just as Jesus spoke in the style and metaphors of His times, and Paul wore the clothes of his hosts, we need to offer up Christ's message of saving grace in a package that is understood by the unchurched souls of our day.

That said, it is critical to note that change has always been difficult, and change in forms of church worship is probably all the more. We need to continue to strive to find ways to accommodate the new, while retaining the best of the old. Perhaps it's useful to imagine more pedestals of lower elevation, than simply to take an older form off a high pedestal, and replace it with a new one at equal altitude. The art of blending forms of music in worship is one that can help to preserve the best of the old, while permitting the new to flourish.

So, at Christian Sound and Song, we are committed to creating a forum where information, experiences, and knowledge can be shared among all churches and leaders of music and worship, who wish to elevate the appeal and enhance the diversity of their musical ministries. Over the next few months, our readers will be able to profit from the successes of others in the areas of contemporary and blended music, worship, and sound technology, and avoid some of the common pitfalls of others' mistakes. As partners in Kingdom building, we can do greater good by sharing these tales than by celebrating or licking our wounds in private. To that end we will regularly seek and feature editorial contributions from our readers and friends involved in the music of the church.

 

Tom LeFevre, Editor tlefevre@soundandsong.com