An imperfect offering

Via The Margins:

A number of pastors are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the amount of resources we pour into the weekly show. One remembered the solos of the minimally gifted “Aunt Jane” who – nevertheless – was powerful in her musical ministry because of the power of *her life.* But there is no way she would be ever singing in any attractional mega-church service. An appreciation of her public worship only came because of an appreciation of her life of worship.

So true, especially in this holiday season. We go to a church that we kind of just fell into after being in a startup church for a few years that unfortunately fizzled out once the head pastor left. Our church is a good church, active in the community, great kids program, etc. However, the “weekly show” has become a distraction rather than an edification. Only the best of the best are allowed up front to lead worship. You never hear from anyone who has a wobbly voice, or makes mistakes playing a simple worship song, or from someone who is over 40, because that would not be “seeker sensitive”, whatever that means.

Growing up, we had quite the opposite situation. Betty and John led worship most Sundays, with cracked vibratos, missed words,and impromptu additions to the weekly menu. There was a sense of participation, rather than a stage with performers that played to an audience. I miss that.

I think that many churches are missing the boat when they exclude these imperfect offerings. When you only have the brightest and best in front of the congregation every single service, you impart a sense of us vs. them, which is so unfortunate. Why is it that the flashy and the synchronized is regarded as more important than the sincere and contemplative? What ever happened to listening to the quiet, rather than making sure that every song finishes in exactly 3.30 minutes (and repeating the same words five times)?

I tend to be moved more by the hesitant yet plaintive voices of a children’s choir, nervous about singing in front of everyone, or the tear-stained testimony of a grandmother or grandfather, or the passionate songs of a single mom who doesn’t know how she’s going to pay her water bill this month. That’s who Jesus was interested too – the people who weren’t necessarily the greatest performers, but whose hearts compelled them to lift up what they had, regardless.


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