Monday, February 2, 2015

Pay Phone and Music

Once upon a time there were phones in areas around cities and stores available for use by the public for a fee. If you needed to call someone when you were out and about you stopped at a pay phone and inserted some change and were able to make a call. When the cell phone was invented, it still made calls, but you could carry it with you. The first ones were called, "bag phones." They were rather large and those who could afford them carried them in their cars. As technology advanced, the phone shrank to a size which could be carried in a pocket. As technology continued to advance the cell phone became a smartphone which allowed you to search the internet while out and about. The common factor of the phone is the fact that you can have a voice connection with another human. The original use of the phone is still relevant today. The funny thing is, I do not hear millions crying out in pain and sorrow for the loss of the pay phone. Where are the loyalists? Where are those who loved having to carry enough change with them to make a call when they were out and about? You would be hard pressed to find those who miss the pay phone. Why? Because the phone still exists, just in a different form. One may still call a loved one when out and about.

In thinking about our church, I find it puzzling that some of us still hold on to the way we have done things for over 50 years without being open to the God inspired songwriters of today. Some of the new music touches hearts and reaches people. It does not sound like the old music, but it still serves the purpose of praising God and touching people's hearts. Should we ignore something that God is using? New is not bad. Not all new is best, but not all new is bad. Not all old was great either. Some of the old was horrible and we skip those hymns when singing to God in church. The point is, music evolves. It changes. You have old country and new country. Believe it or not, the songs that reached you may not reach people today. God tells us to sing a new song. Should we be resistant to something that God, Himself, told us to do? Are we scared, fearful of new songs?

Regardless of what you have been told or believe, hymns will not disappear from FBC. They will continue to be sung and used by our congregation. They may have a different tune, be paired with a singable new song or chorus that does not repeat itself 50 or 7 times. If we are going to reach this generation we must learn to speak their language. We may not like it, but how willing are we to reach people for Christ? They matter to God. They must matter to us. If we insist on maintaining the "way things have always been" at FBC, then we will continue to decrease in number. Have you not noticed that we have been unable to replace with new members those who have passed away? Have you stopped to wonder why? We have lost families due to our unwillingness to bend in the area of music. How long can we exist if we continue on this road? We have a long time family which I am not sure about. They are hanging on, hoping we change a bit in our music. If we do not, I fear they, too, will leave. We have had people visit and tell us that they did not like the music. Sure, those who grew up with hymns liked what we do, but those who are longing for music that reaches them skip out and go elsewhere. We must be able to compromise in this area. It is vital to the continued existence of our church. 

I do not know how many times I have to say this, but here I go again, "We are not going to be a rock and roll church. The music will not be bangy clangy. It will also NOT be loud. We will not have music that dishonors God. We may have our favorites, but so does the younger generation. We have music that speaks to us and so do they. How will we reach them? The bottom line is, "do we care about those outside our church and their eternal destiny or not?" If we do, then we must learn, as Paul said, to be all things to all people in order that we might by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22 NASB)

Is church all about the music? No. Is music important and do people have music preferences? Yes. Can we meet EVERY need people have? No. Should we try? To a degree, yes. I am not asking for a complete overhaul of our music program, just a few adjustments. Can we do this? I think we can. As of yet, we have not seen a truly trained music director try. I pray we will soon. Pray for your church.  

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