I am probably showing my age even by using the term "look like" (it's so 90's); but our church has a new pastor who wants to upgrade the contemporary-ness of our contemporary service (we also have a "traditional" service which will get some freshening up).
We've been here two years, following a longer tenure by a young man who got the contemporary service going. We've got a good group of gentle people who express themselves gently; but we manage to do the "contemporary" things (or the "rural/southern" things) like clapping, occasionally raising a hand and even five seconds of praise-shouting after a particularly powerful song. We're Pentecostal, but we see no need to force these people to be something they aren't; but they do appreciate a powerful "experience" while worship God through music.
We're forming a music committee, to more easily share ideas, even planning out worship services in the future. In the past, I've been accustomed to extended worship which includes personal prayer, dancing, flags and banners, stopping for a mini-sermon, altar call, and so on. I found much good in those things (except for the occasional "spiritual hijacking" by an overenthusiastic individual); but I really don't know what directions we might want to go in this new committee adventure.
They, of course, will bring in their own ideas. But I'm curious as to what a spectrum of various churches, in contemporary-style worship, are doing, other than just putting up songs on a screen and singing (or is that all we should be doing?) What do some of your services, either normal ones or the "special" ones, look like these days, ad what value do you find in this appearance?
Now THAT is an interesting bit of theology, Joe.
Hopefully, our church leaders have been converted and are serving the Lord and bear the fruit of the Spirit (and thus it will be societal leaders that take the role of beating us up, firing us from our jobs and killing us).
The Bible gives very few instructions on the "how" of congregational worship. In the Old Testament, during Passover, there is to be a "solemn assembly". At various times, you cut up a cow, and there are some rules about how to do it neatly. But there is no "order of service", nothing about music, nothing at all. There are a few passages in the New Testament which describe happenings during a service; but if you took them literally, you would have a very loose Pentecostal meeting at home or perhaps the foyer to the synagogue, where people simply offered a song or asked for prayer when the leader said it was OK. Among academic folks, there is quite a bit of feeling that the Christian services continued in the basic pattern of their Jewish forebears, modifying parts to fit. Observing human nature, and noting that even the strongest Reformers rarely made any change at all in the service, and that the 'urge to change' is a modern idea that has to be taught to people, I tend to agree with this conservative theory.
On the other hand -- it is quite possible to do things, good things, which will get us ostracized, even by our peers. Dennis Bennett told his congregation of his being filled with the Spirit, not forcing it on anyone; being Espiscopal, they couldn't fire him, but a large group walked out, and he himself was reassigned to a tiny, remote parish (which listened with more interest and grew exponentially). Jesus mentioned that God did good things for foreigners (Luke 4) and the locals tried to throw Him over a cliff! Then he asked the to seriously believe Him (John 6) and most of them walked away.
So yes, good changes can have strange outcomes -- I'm posting this question not for outcomes; but rather, by posting this question I am scanning the horizon for good things which happen in your services that we might consider learning from or adopting.
Beautiful song. Interestingly, you used some sort of string, part of it an octave up, I think; but being raised as an organist, I perceive the riff as being on a pipe organ (celeste, an imitation string or voice effect made by two sets of pipes slightly detuned from each other). The effect is to take the song from the very intimate me-and-my-guitar setting to lift the roof from the building to where the song is somewhere in the clouds (perhaps the term SoundCloud did that to my mind, too).
From the visual standpoint, that's a very familiar scene -- you've even got an anointed organist!
Curious. In stage production, they tell us never to put people in straight lines, and if they start forming that way in a crowd, the director shouts at them to scatter! Real people only stand in straight lines if they are afraid some imaginary teacher is watching them.
I swear I washed the shirt before this pic :-). I have since moved to right of center and the pentacostal plant pots are gone :-). We have no real rules or format. What you see there usually goes for an hour or more. I recently played as a guest at my friends church. 2 songs then announcements then two more songs, service alter call then stop alter call for worship. The fits and starts of the service format where giving me stress. I can't wait to get back "home" on wednesday where worship is free and goes where it naturally goes..
I think the extended-worship time is what I miss most. Of course, I am now in a culture which has done 2-2-1 for years and years, kinda like a "zone" when you think about it; where I had come from a "one-on-one" freestyle culture, similar to yours, so I have an inner yearning for it. My predecessor was a rocker to the core and a free spirit if there ever was one, yet he did 2-2-1 for nine years. Actually, in my previous church, the order was pretty prescribed (3 hymn, 3 choruses in the days when they called short songs "choruses" and the delineation from "hymns" was strict). But one day Pastor asked to have hands-on prayer in the middle of it, and the next week we just sort of did the same, and it changed wonderfully without any committee or anything (it was easier then, because we had an overhead box that I had already made slides of all the choruses and hymns, just in case). In some ways, it's no different than the old-fashioned 'altar service' except that those that slipped out the back door were now trapped there, and sometimes were moved by... well, to come full circle, I'll call it the Worship Experience!