Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Services

Strangely enough (or perhaps not so strange), I find that I often do not like to participate in Christmas Services. I'm not alone in this. For some worship team members (and perhaps others), a Christmas Service is less about worship and more about performance. In many of my experiences, caroling (which is done by almost all churches that I've been apart of) is not something loved by many worship teams. And thus, we usually start very late practicing, which leads to stressful services. Additionally, the service is way more of a "performance" and way less worshipful. As one person said, "This is the one time of year some people come to church, and rather than having a great worship service, we do Christmas carols. What's up with that?"

I went to two services this year, one at ICC (where I was on the worship team) and one at NCF - where I was a visitor.

ICC's wasn't too bad. There weren't a lot of people there when we started (so we held off for 10 minutes while Michael just played Jaime's keys for a while. That boy can play - without any training or anything... another discuss someday perhaps). In any case, we started after 10 minutes and still many people weren't there. Partly could have been due to the snow, and partly because we had to do it on the 18th and maybe people just weren't in the Christmas spirit yet. In any case, it went OK. But it didn't seem all that worshipful - but that could have just been me.

NCF's Christmas Eve Service was awesome. A couple things. 1) In my recent experience with NCF Christmas Eve Services - they aren't done by the worship team. Which might be a good thing. That way the people that are doing the songs, etc.; are very much into it. They signed up for it. They wanted to do it. 2) Its always like a family reunion. Especiaclly this year, since we haven't gone for probably 4 years or so. So saw lots of folks we hadn't seen forever, lots of little kids that are not much more grown, etc. The format was very nice. A mix of carols, worship songs, and "memories" of Christmas' past, all discussing the love, spirit, etc. of Christmas and showing God's love. Cool stuff.

Very interesting to me though, seeing it from one side or the other. I guess when I'm worshipping, I want it to be worship type music, and when I'm participating in a Christmas program then I'm cool with it being just that... a Christmas program. I've done that at NCF before - where we did special music as part of the program - and that was cool. Its all a state of mind I guess - and what is the goal, etc. Something I need to keep in mind in the future....

In any case, NCF was very cool. It was nice to see how the church has grown. And it was great to see everyone I haven't seen for so long.


Anonymous said...

So, based on your blogs, why do you still attend and lead worship at ICC?

James said...

btw: This was not so much a critique of ICC's Christmas Service as it was a discussion of being on a worship team in a Christmas service. I've found doing "specials" at Christmas, either as the member of a music team, or of a choir - can be fun. Because you are focusing on doing something special, kind of performing, whatever. But being on a worship team, with the same people you normally do "worship" with, it can be kind of weird. Because you aren't really doing worship... at least to me.

Yeah - I know. Kind of weird. But that was what I was kind of saying. Might just be me. Same person, same music - maybe just a thing I need to get my head around and adjust. Don't look at Christmas service as "worship" but just have fun with it - no matter what role I'm in. Have to keep it in mind and see how things go next year.

Anyway - to your question (whoever you are). As a side note, I've been getting more Anyonymous comments lately. Either more people are reading my blog than I thought (which seems sort of weird to me - LOL), or folks I know are just leaving the msgs anonymously.

Anyway - why do I still lead worship at ICC - given what I've stated on my blogs.

1) I really hate change - and the older I get, the more that is true.

2) I really hate confrontation - and the older I get, the more that is true. And for me, leaving a team is confrontational. You can't just not show up one day and never come back. You have to go discuss it with someone. Tell them you are leaving, and potentially get into why, etc. Thats a hard thing.

3) Relationships. My brother and two of his sons are on the team, as well as my daughter and her boy-friend. So - 5 people on the team are close family. And then two of the other people on the team I've played with for quite a few years. So these are people I'm very close to. And leaving the team could mean I'll never worship with them again - and that is very sad. So it keeps me there.

So - those are the main reasons. Lots of people leave one church and go to another. Each time it is very hard, if you are involved and serving. Tina was talking to a person the other day that she ran into that used to go to ICC. Their currrent church isn't perfect (no church is - we are humans after all), but she said she'd never leave. "Its just to hard to leave a church." - I think the older I get, the truer that statement becomes.

Besides - I'm one of those kind of people that figures I'll always work for the same company, go to the same church, live in the same town - for life. And so you build certain dreams, goals, etc. around that. And again - its just hard to change that.

The bottom line, in any job, church, etc. is that you have to get to the point where you ask, "Are the advantages (or good things) worth the disadvantages (or bad thigns)?" And if not, maybe it is time for a change.

Which is why I wrote the oringal entry. Cause I wasn't sure anymore. And I was just kind of writting it in my journal to help me think about it. I'm just surprised at how many people talked to me about it. :)