Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Worship and the Arts

So, one thing I'm stoked about with our new building at Crossbridge is that we will be able to incorporate other artistic expressions in worship. We have tried over the years to bring stuff such as painting, photography and drama into our services, but they always seem to fall short because our cafeteria lacks any sort of creative vibe. It's like one big blank room with windows and cinder block walls.

I plan on assembling some teams of artists within our church to help bring the arts to a more prominent place in our worship environments. Music has obviously always had a place; it's a part of the Bible Belt worship culture. However, some of my more moving worship experiences have been void of music and full of other artistic expressions. Not to negate music, it's still one of my favs!

I do believe this will only serve to help expand our people's view of worship as well. I love to hear the stories of worship behind paintings and photographs. I love to hear how people prepare themselves to read scripture...they actually ask me in advance for the reading so they can practice! I want to pour gas on the fires and passions that burn within these artists...I just need an avenue to do so. And that is coming soon...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

First Video IChat

Had my first Video IChat today. Pretty amazing. I think I may never leave my office now...but then I could only Pastor people that have Macs...that might not be such a bad idea. :) Funny thing was, I chatted with my friend Pablo as he was sitting right next to me...then we got his brother-in-law Ernie in on the action. It took some coercing because he was in class at U of H. But yes, in the middle of lecture, there was Ernie on IChat Video. We proceeded to try as hard as we could to get him to laugh out loud. It was classic.

The whole time, I couldn't stop thinking about the days I spent working at Office Depot in High School and my first year of college. I remember there was this revolutionary new phone that allowed you to see each other via camera. The video quality was beautifully choppy and fuzzy; the machine was as big as an Apple IIE. We kept it in a big plastic case up front to keep people from damaging the state of the art piece. It was priced well over a $1000, you had to sign up for a specific phone plan, and the other person had to have the same machine. Keep in mind, it was just a telephone with a screen and camera. No computer. Definitely not portable. I wonder what those people that bought it for over $1000 think now?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Know What You're Doing...

Side note for all you bloggers...if you decide to play with your blog template, know what you're doing. :) I was trying to make a tweak on my blog (not knowing HTML very well) and I lost my entire template! Hopefully I'll get everything back I lost. I wanted to punch my screen...but my computer is only a couple days old...and that's another blog entry I would not like to elaborate on right now. I'll give you a hint though...I spent 3 hours of my life last week having the passenger side window on my Jeep replaced. (Which included the removal of about 3 lbs. of Duct Tape).

Worship Through the Eyes of an Unbeliever

I often wonder what unbelievers might think of our worship gatherings on Sunday mornings. I think the longer we are Christians, the harder it is for us to remember what it was like when we were far from Christ.

Our worship environment is pretty open to people's individual response to what God is doing in their heart. It's not uncommon to see people raising their hands, kneeling, or crying throughout entire songs. At the same time, there can be someone on the next row with his hands in his pockets looking very uncomfortable.

And we're supposed to somehow craft a worship gathering that encompasses these two polar opposites. Sometimes I see how the "seeker" route became so attractive for churches during the late 90's. Simply cater to one group on Sundays and another group midweek. Eliminate the dilemma of making unbelievers feel "uncomfortable" and believers feel spoon fed.

So what do unbelievers, non-convinced people think when they are in an environment like ours? We just kind of go after God and hope that He shows Himself to them. I do talk to the "newcomers" and try to let them know what to expect. Our Pastor speaks directly to both groups of people and does so effectively. But do they look at us with our hands in the air or sobbing in on the second row and think: "What a bunch of Freaks!"

I don't know. It's messy...but it's good. Have you guys ever asked someone that's not a believer how they experience our worship gatherings? What kind of responses have you heard?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Worship and Suburbia

Our church staff has been in deep discussions for a while now about how to approach ministry within our context. We all have this love hate relationship with Suburbia. Everyone loves the perks of Suburbia, but everyone hates what Suburbia produces in us and the people we lead.

I’ve recently had a few conversations regarding worship in our context. For the purpose of this post, we’ll use the word worship to refer to our Sunday morning gatherings. Though I know that’s a mentality we’re trying to battle…that "worship is just what we do on Sunday mornings, " it will help for me not to have clarify every sentence I write here. ☺

Anywhere that I have led worship, my foremost thought after “What does God want to do here?” is “Who and Where am I leading?” This question helps me immediately put up a filter by which to make decisions about our worship gatherings.

I must say that this question permeates our thinking as a staff on a regular basis. We whole-heartedly seek God’s direction for where we’re going. Then we immediately consider our context. Do we claim to be experts on our culture…no, but we do think we have a pretty good tap on it.

So what do our worship gatherings look like in Suburbia? What is our aim on any given Sunday morning? Are we out to put on a “show,” or are we trying to lead people to God? Seems if you do anything that smells of production…you’re putting on a show. Try to create an environment that is creative and conducive to reflection…you’re manipulating people and not allowing God to show how He can work even in a sterile environment. Try to buy a building that will allow you a place to “ground” your ministry and people say, “can’t we just go worship in a field?”

The context of Suburbia must be considered when planning. Scripture confirms that (1 Cor 9:22). A balance must be found between letting it rule your thoughts and letting it be a factor that you consider in your planning. It’s easy to replace God with what we think is best for our culture. It’s easy to do what other churches do in Suburbia and miss how God wants you to reach Suburbia.

Church culture drives me crazy at times. What’s Fellowship, Lifechurch.Tv, MarsHill, Willowcreek, or Northpoint doing? “That must be where it’s at!”…Those are great churches and they are having an incredible impact reaching Suburbia in the way God is leading them . But honestly…I can’t sing U2. It would be rather humorous to listen to. But yet I’m called to a similar people as those in Grapevine, TX. I’ve been refreshed lately by watching some other churches and well respected leaders not cave to the system.

I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a heart for reaching my community…in Suburbia. In one of the safest cities in America.

8 Weeks Away

Well, we're 8 weeks away from the due date...and the support is growing for Cash. Many people are already calling the baby by that name. Loving it. And pictures of baby clothes. This is really fun. :) Thanks Erin C.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Princess Waffle Night

Mommy is out at her MomTime group tonight. So it's me and the girls...and Princess Waffle Night! The girls are excited, Polar Express is on and the waffle iron is hot. Will let you know how it goes!

So, here are the pics from our Princess Waffle Night! What a blast...the girls were stoked about having breakfast at night time. Grandma Carolyn gave the girls this Waffle Maker that makes a picture of a princess and a prince on your waffle.

Big girl kept telling me... "Papi, be careful, don't cut the King!" As you can see below, she liked it so much she kept giving it kisses! Good times!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Christmas at the Barosh House

Christmas was a blast at our house this year. I loved every minute of it. My wife took the kiddos through some great Biblical stories using the Jesse Tree to help keep us focused on Jesus throughout the season. Christmas morning was really fun as the kids got three gifts, just like Jesus did. This year was the year of the bike. It was hilarious and still is. Here are a few pics of the girls.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Me and Ross King (Part 2)

So, I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. If you want to know the truth, the time that Mel and I usually blog has been consumed with watching season six of 24! Soon as the girls go down, we’re in bed and Jack Bauer is doing his thing. During the actual TV season, my wife and I don’t have the patience to wait for commercials, let alone an entire week between episodes. So, we watch 24 Marathon-style when it comes out on DVD. 2 more episodes tonight and we’re done. It’s bittersweet!

On New Years Day, my wife and I got a much needed night out! We actually went to a house concert that Ross King was doing here in the area. Just Ross and a percussion player. Though there was not one “worship” song in the evening, it was one of the more worshipful times I’ve experienced in a long time. Thanks to Pablo and Iris for the invite!

I got to chat with Ross a bit after the concert. The dude is about as real as they come and you can tell he walks with God. There are people that quote scripture when they talk – “Well you know…it says in Colossians 3 that…” Then there are people that scripture is just a part of their life. They can’t have a conversation without it somehow oozing into their vocabulary. There’s a humility in the way that they talk about scripture. This was my encounter with Ross.

We covered the entire spectrum from worship culture to multi-site churches. From our weaknesses as worship pastors to rock star worship leaders. It was good and honest conversation.

On a side note, I bought 15 of his newest CD “Perhaps I’ve Said to Much” because I want to give them away to some people. He’s addressing so many things that our church deals with and I want people to sit, listen, and think. I want the words to stir their hearts like they have mine. Like they did for Mel as I looked over in the middle of the concert and she’s in tears during the song Non-Religious Me.

Thanks Ross for a great night of worship through song and reflection.