The Highway
Posted By: RefDoc Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 5:29 AM
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."
Posted By: Anonymous Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:28 AM
The content is not still the same. The "wrapping" is produced in the content of the "message." Ugh, ...I'm going to skip this for now.
Posted By: Anonymous Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 7:38 AM
Sadly this is the kind of thing that would be well reported in the press here in the U.K. This would not be something I personally would be sharing with any of my brethren,as one american said to my freind we have a lot of "interesting churches" here in the states.I could list a number that are trully interesting I often tell people of the Highway,the White Horse Inn which always gets a laugh.My minister and I often visit there, someone overheard us once discussing the Inn raised concerns about our witness <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rofl.gif" alt="" />What were we doing at an inn.
Posted By: Saved_n_kept Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 11:38 AM
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RefDoc said:

"We usually do our services as a show," he said. "It's very entertaining. It's very production-oriented."

I guess that says it all. How sad!
We have them here too, just not on as big a scale.
Posted By: MarieP Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 7:15 PM
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"The same old, same old is boring to the human brain."

To the unregenerate brain, yes, but to those who are redeemed, no! How can you possibly call hymns, prayer, and expository preaching boring? How can you call the worship of the One True and Living God boring? There are boring churches, but they're boring because they're dead, not because they're Biblical. Just the ability to even stand in His presence should be enough to thrill our souls for eternity, much less the fact we are justified, being sanctified, stewards of the very Word of God, part of the body of Christ.

What seems to be missing in the "church" detailed in the article is any sort of acknowldgement that the church is indeed the body of Christ. They have lost their reason for being there- to glorify God and praise Him forever, to admonish one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, to rightly divide the Word of Truth, to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

At least they're honest about it being a production and a show.
Posted By: Ruth Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 8:35 PM
HI All,

Just wanted to add my 2 cents. This is just "another" example of bringing the world into the Church instead of bringing the Church to the people of the world. How sad that so many have "itching ears" for this junk! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/bif.gif" alt="" />

In His Hands,

Ruth
Posted By: Wes Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 8:57 PM
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RefDoc writes:

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.


Quote
Quote from the Grand Rapids Press:

"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."

Unfortunately this kind of unregenerate humanistic thinking fails to realize that the Bible will always be relevant. It's timeless message will never change. When people who call themselves Christians tire of the old old story they have lost their way. When our views of relevance and our efforts to redefine ourselves are captive to the seductions and pressures of modern culture we become irrelevant and unfaithful.

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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.

Where in the Bible does it say we need to find cultural common ground with about 1400 people? This is ridiculous. John Piper writes, "We don’t own culture, and we don’t rule it. We serve it with brokenhearted joy and longsuffering mercy, for the good of man and the glory of Jesus Christ." He reminds us that a Christian is just passing through in his article entitled, "Taking the Swagger Out of Christian Cultural Influence"

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"We usually do our services as a show," he said. "It's very entertaining. It's very production-oriented.

....."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."

The message is loud and clear... give the people what they want, make it exciting and entertaining. RefDoc, I'm not laughing, this is sad indeed.


Wes
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 8:59 PM
Ruth,

This phenomena is nothing new to history. In fact about 160 years ago, the Rev. Charles Spurgeon wrote:


This is the suggestion of the present hour: If the world will not come to Jesus....Shall not the church go down to the world? Instead of bidding men to be converted, and come out from among sinners, and be separate from them, let us join with the ungodly world, enter into union with it, and so pervade it with our influence by allowing it to influence us. Let us have a Christian world.

Certain ministers are treacherously betraying our holy religion under pretense of adapting it to this present age. The new plan is to assimilate the church to the world by semi-dramatic performances they make the house of prayer to approximate to the theater; they turn their services into musical displays in fact, they exchange the temple for the theater, and turn the ministers of God into actors, whose business it is to amuce men. This then is the proposal. In order to win the world, the Lord Jesus must conform himself, his people, and his Word to the world. I will not dwell on so loathsome a proposal.

My dear hearers, how much I long to see you saved!! But I would not belie my Lord, even to win your souls, if they could be won so. The true servant of God is not responsible for success or non-success. Results are in God's hands. (see here: No Compromise



That same Spurgeon lamented on another occasion and spoke these words: Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats.

And a more contemporary criticism of this buffoonery can be found here:

Church-O-Rama or Corporate Worship, by Monte E. Wilson and,

The Contemporary Church, by John Armstrong.

In His Grace,
Posted By: Reformation Monk Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 9:05 PM
These are some of the things that my church ( PCUSA ) is planning to get in the near future.

1. Two large drop down visual screens for the power point projector. We already use the powerpoint projector, but we only have one screen that is on a base. But our pastor wants to get two larger ones built in the ceiling. The concern in the last session meeting was that they might block a good view of the large cross we have on the back wall of our sanctuary. Lol. As if that should be a concern at all.

2. My church wants to ( please don't laugh ) set up a cafe/lounge. With an espresso machine and all. Basically we want to add a Starbucks to our church.

3. We also want to add a bookstore. We have a library, but we want to change that into a 'bookstore'.

I'm starting to consider changing to PCA.

Y.B.I.C,

Dave.
Posted By: Wes Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 9:19 PM
Dave,

It appears your church will be having a curtain call instead of a call to worship. I would strongly recommend that you look elsewhere. The PCUSA as a denomination has gone beyond liberal to heretical.

A word to the wise.


Wes
Posted By: Anonymous Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 9:48 PM
This is precisely what is being taught at plenty of Bible colleges and seminaries today. When I became reformed, I was originally Reformed Baptist. When I found out there was a Baptist Bible college 12 miles away, I was elated. I decided to attend. About two weeks before I started, I became Episcopalian, or, paedo oriented, to speak. I am 18 hours shy of finishing an associates at OCU, the college and seminary for the General Baptist denomination. To see why I should have been concerned, look here; GB beliefs.

I began a bit reserved, and I quickly found out I was not mistaken. This is exactly what was taught to us in Church Growth and Evangelism class. We are to 'meet' the world half way. Seeker sensitivity. That's just a code word for making the gospel second place to the feelings of the unregenerate. Perhaps this is where the 'gospel-less' sermon comes in.

Well, this only helped cement my understandings of what NOT to do. This group (off topic) is also very legalistic. I once commented that we could get plenty of people with a little beer and football, but was told beer was against sound Christian principles. Talk about confused. The problem with going down a slippery slope is that to get back to the top, you gotta ask somebody up there for help.......which admits wrong. The Church today looks more like the world each and every day. It is indeed, a sad state of affairs, but I refuse to look to the world for my principles of worship. May God keep us in His mercy and safe from such heresy.


God bless,

william
Posted By: Anonymous Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 10:31 PM
I'm sorry to hear that, Dave. I am thankful that you are aware of big problems in your church, despite that no one else there is. I think we all have a commitment to our church bodies as is obvious in the body of Christ (duh), but I agree with Wes because from what you say I think your church is veering or already at a false gospel.

By His grace,
Ben
Posted By: J_Edwards Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Sun Jun 13, 2004 11:24 PM
It sounds like a place where the Devil may rest after a hard days battle elsewhere.
Posted By: Tom Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Mon Jun 14, 2004 4:32 AM
The first thoughts that come to mind are: they have replaced (either intentionally or not) the worship of God, with entertainment of people.

I wouldn't really mind so much if they had just examined the way worship had been done for so long in light of the scriptures. But instead they used subjective reasoning, instead of what is infallible.

Tom
Posted By: Anonymous Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Mon Jun 14, 2004 4:57 AM
It was this type of 'entertainment' that was one of the original problems that got me thinking. We know where I ended up. Unfortunately, I see far too much of this stuff, and it is becoming nauseating. Tom is correct, they have replaced sound Biblical principles for the preferences of the unregenerate.


God bless,

william
Posted By: john Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Mon Jun 14, 2004 1:21 PM
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averagefellar said:
It was this type of 'entertainment' that was one of the original problems that got me thinking. We know where I ended up. Unfortunately, I see far too much of this stuff, and it is becoming nauseating. Tom is correct, they have replaced sound Biblical principles for the preferences of the unregenerate.

At the church I used to attend (until last month), this kind of stuff was starting to happen too. Not nearly to the extent in the original post though. At the last service I attended there, the pastor wanted to illustrate the concept of "rejection", so they tried to show a scene from the movie "Seabiscuit" with a projector. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the computer they were using to play it kept messing up. So for about 15 minutes the sermon just stopped while they fiddled with the equipment. Then, when the pastor gave up and went back to preaching, the technician kept trying to get it to work, so bits of the movie would flash on the screen during the sermon. All I could think was, "what am I doing here?" If I wanted to watch "Seabiscuit" I would have done it at home, and it was certainly not appropriate to show it during the sermon. I certainly don't see how one can be worshipping God while watching "Seabiscuit". That was the last straw for me, and I haven't been back since then. But it's very disheartening to see so many people go to church and think they are being taught about God, but really the content is so empty. And it's even more frustrating when those people are your friends and they don't see anything wrong with what's going on.

I agree with what Marie said,

Quote
To the unregenerate brain, yes, but to those who are redeemed, no! How can you possibly call hymns, prayer, and expository preaching boring? How can you call the worship of the One True and Living God boring?

and with what Pilgrim said in another thread

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It is in the preaching and teaching of sound biblical doctrine that will move men from their complacency, should the Lord will. (Rom 1:16; 1Tim 1:3; 4:16; 2Tim 3:16; 2Tim 4:2; et al) It isn't the "delivery" which will move men, but the Truth which will set them free (Jh 8:32); free from the sins of complacency, indolence, sloth, worldliness and all such hindrances. But, if one is only a Christian by profession and not by possession, then no amount of para-church programs is going to have any effect on one's soul. It will simply encourage and solidify their hollow "churchianity" which only leads to eternal death.

John
Posted By: MarieP Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Mon Jun 14, 2004 3:04 PM
WOW!

What did the audience, er, congregation do while waiting for 15 minutes? Somehow I don't think most of them were reading through some Psalms or meditating on their need for God's mercy and grace.

I will pray for you as you find a church home to go to. Will it be hard to find one where you are? Is the Japanese-speaking Presbyterian one still an option?
Posted By: john Re: Thought you've seen everything? - Mon Jun 14, 2004 3:42 PM
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SemperReformanda said:
WOW!

What did the audience, er, congregation do while waiting for 15 minutes? Somehow I don't think most of them were reading through some Psalms or meditating on their need for God's mercy and grace.

I will pray for you as you find a church home to go to. Will it be hard to find one where you are? Is the Japanese-speaking Presbyterian one still an option?

Well, I think most people just chatted casually, if I remember correctly. But I really don't remember it that well now. It was just bizarre.

Yes, I have visited that church several more times, and I have almost made up my mind to make it my choice. The language is a struggle (big struggle), but I can get copies of the sermons which helps. From what I can tell, I really believe that the teaching is on a solid Reformed foundation. Also, the service is very structured which I like. They actually take the offering and make the announcements at the end of the service which I think helps keep the focus during the service on God. The announcements are all printed and handed out, then the sheet is read. This sort of keeps the announcer from ad-libbing. The hymns are all from the hymnal without any contemporary songs (I do enjoy contemporary hymns/songs, but I don't mind a church that stays with traditional songs). But, so far, I don't the meaning of what I'm singing most of the time. Hopefully, my vocabulary will increase quickly though.

John
Posted By: MarieP You aint seen nothin' yet... - Tue Jul 06, 2004 4:18 AM
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Players Give Way to Prayers

By Dana Calvo Special to The Times

HOUSTON — During close games at Houston's Compaq Center, basketball and hockey fans did their share of praying. Next spring, the stadium will hear some serious hallelujahs.

After a 14-month, $75-million renovation, the Compaq Center will reopen as Lakewood Church, the nation's largest house of worship.

With 16,000 seats, two waterfalls and an interior camera ready for Sunday broadcasts, the reborn structure dovetails national trends that promise to shake up the economics of urban real estate: the increasing number of obsolete sports stadiums and the meteoric growth of huge religious congregations that need "megachurches."

Requiring arena-sized seating and vast parking lots, these churches are expensive to build and demand large plots of land that are difficult to come by in urban areas. That has made rejected sports arenas, faced with demolition, fertile ground for religious conversion.

It may be a commercial real estate boomlet in its infancy. Besides the Compaq Center, only the Forum in Inglewood has made the jump, now drawing about 6,000 on Sundays as the Faithful Central Bible Church. (The church moved in before all the Forum's event contracts had been fulfilled, so in the early days worshipers shared space with the Women of Wrestling league.)

But interest appears to be growing. Joel Osteen, the 41-year-old pastor of Lakewood Church, said half a dozen pastors from around the country had asked him how he went about signing the 30-year, $12.3-million lease on the Compaq Center.

Church leaders, he said, realize they have to be inventive these days.

"You have to change with the times," he said. "If Jesus were here he'd change with the times. He couldn't ride around on a donkey. He'd drive a car."

..........................................

Lakewood Church won't be the economic engine for the area that the old stadium was, but the county is getting something out of it: $12.3 million upfront for the lease, according to Lakewood spokesman Don Iloff.

For Lakewood, the move to the old Compaq Center next April (just in time for Easter services) will give it celestial bragging rights of sorts.

Already the fastest-growing congregation in the country with more than 30,000 members, Lakewood in its new home will eclipse the 27,000-member Crenshaw Christian Center of Los Angeles as the biggest church in the nation — 16,000 seats versus 10,000 or so at Crenshaw Christian Center's landmark FaithDome.

The Rockets' old locker room is becoming a nursery. A swath of stadium seating has been torn out to make room for the waterfalls that will bookend the 200-person choir. And a state-of-the-art hydraulic stage is being built for the choir and the nine-person band, which features an electric guitar but no organ.

Osteen tends to his global flock with broadcasts on ABC Family, Pax TV and BET, reaching more than two dozen of the largest television markets in the country, as well as far-flung spots that include Estonia and Cyprus.

The Compaq Center's 20 luxury suites have been turned into electrical rooms from which Lakewood's 25-person production team will operate lighting, curtains and cameras. It is, Osteen admits, a service conceived to lure and retain a generation of worshippers who want their Bible-based inspiration served up in an entertaining package.

There are some sports venues that have been discarded by pro teams but have yet to be made over as megachurches. Houston's multipurpose Astrodome, for example, sits vacant.

"It's a 60,000-seat building that's very sound," Luck said, "but I don't know if there's a church that needs that much space."

Lakewood's Osteen isn't so sure. "I think there could be a day when we see 75,000 [congregants] instead of 25,000," he said. "I think there's that potential."

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=st...ivewaytoprayers
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