In this once bastion of the Reformed Faith, West Michigan appears to be spawning more than a few strange churches. I don't know whether to be sad, or to laugh at the absurdity. Anyway, I submit the following for your perusal and comments.
'THE BEST SHOW IN TOWN' Saturday, June 12, 2004 By Matt Vandebunte The Grand Rapids Press HUDSONVILLE -- Wes Dupin points to the first verse of the Bible when he explains worship at Daybreak Community Church. Simply put, "God is creative" and has been from the beginning, the pastor says. But to Dupin, the hymns and liturgy of church worship, and the pews, pulpits, choir lofts, stained glass, steeples and crosses of church buildings, are creations of a past era now out of tune with modern life. "The church has basically done the same things for 100 years," he said. "The church has in many ways lost its relevancy with the culture. It has been our determination and purpose (at Daybreak) to stay relevant." Leadership at Daybreak, 3501 Baldwin St. in Hudsonville, has tried to find a cultural common ground with about 1,400 adults and students each week by mixing videos and animation, a fog machine, 20 movable light fixtures, simultaneous dance and drama and other high-tech multimedia into worship. The stage changes with the theme of the service, and props have included a wrestling ring, a NASCAR stock car and a skateboard ramp. Dupin has given messages via video from the Grand Canyon, New York City streets and Las Vegas wedding chapels. "Why not be creative?" he said. "Why not change the stage every Sunday? The same old, same old is boring to the human brain. We should have the best show in town, shouldn't we?" An upcoming workshop aims to show how Daybreak pulls off the things that happen on Sunday mornings. Supernatural, a "creative infusion conference" designed to share innovative worship ideas with pastors and church leaders, is scheduled June 18 and 19 at Daybreak. The two-day workshop brings together local ministry leaders alongside production professionals. Local presenters include Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, and Wayne Schmidt, pastor of Kentwood Community Church. The conference also will feature nationally acclaimed production experts John Meglan, a promoter of live music events for Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and others, and Keri Keaney, an artistic director for Disney who has worked on Olympic ceremonies and Super Bowl halftime shows. Dupin said the conference's purpose is to offer 100 new ideas for how people can use their "creativity gene" in worship. Sessions focus on how to build a service, how to time it and how to budget it. Mark Courtney, Daybreak's creative director, said the conference will involve four demonstrations that include set changes. "We usually do our services as a show," he said. "It's very entertaining. It's very production-oriented. "We work really hard to create environments and productions that connect people to God. We're not a mega-church. We don't have a big budget, but we try to act like we do." Dupin said high-tech creations help Daybreak attract those who have never attended church and those who were raised in church but checked out. "I don't want to bore people on Sunday," he said. "I want to make sure that message is contagious. "We haven't changed the message, we've just wrapped it differently. We've put a different cover on the book, but the content is still the same."


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