Last night, a group of about 15 students met over at the house of Dave and Ellen Keim to discuss what we are going to present during class time this Sunday. Whats interesting about this group, was even though you could call us the “college kids” (ages ranging from 18 to 28), we have just as broad a range of views. I’ll explain later.
Last month, after one of Dave Keim’s lessons, a man named Ray Shirley came up to Dave and asked when he teaches the college class. Ray has been in the Church of Christ for over 7 decades. He wanted to present to the college class, why he likes the old songs and why they have meaning to him. He also wanted to hear from the college class, why we like the new songs and that they mean to us. Last week he said he could remember a time when you could hear a lot of people shouting “AMEN!” and people would dance out in the aisles. There was a movement to move the pendulum from the side of emotionalism to the side of intellectualism. He did say, that he thought that perhaps the pendulum had been moved over too far. Last weeks class was very good, but time didn’t permit for all things to be accomplished in just one class, hence the need for this upcoming class.
A part of me would like to fully disclose what we discussed last night at the Keim’s and a part of me wants to hold it back because it will come out in class on Sunday morning. Alicia Routh, John Miller, and Dan Watkins are each going to present on three of the main points we wanted to get across. Like I said earlier, even though we are all relatively close in age, our views were somewhat different. In the group, you had people that have never clapped during worship, you had people that clap every chance they get. Some people in the group will tell you that God will only accept your praise when singing A Capella and others will tell you that God will accept your praise even if your doing it with instrumental accompaniment. As you can see, even among this age group, a wide range of views are held.
Back in 1998 I got to go, with a few other people in a Bible study I was in, to the Generation 268 Conference. Growing up Church of Christ, this was a very different experience for me. It really opened my eyes to what Worship is. Had I just been in a Bible study made up on with members of the Church of Christ, I’m sure we never would have gone. For those of you college students that are reading this and have never heard of this conference, it has changed names a couple of times. Its also been known as One Day and the Passion Conference. I would encourage you to attend the next one in 2006. It will be in Nashville, TN. Many of the big names such as Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, and David Crowder are associated with the Generation 268. For me, this was probably the first time in my 19 years (at the time) that I actually felt like I was truly worshiping God. Other people shared how they feel when they went to Gateway Getaway/Gulf Coast Getaway.
One of the biggest thing that was shared, that pretty much everyone could agree on, was that the atmosphere on Sunday morning isn’t very pleasant. We aren’t letting the spirit surround us in our worship. We aren’t excited to be at church. It could start with something as simple as putting more energy behind the announcements. We realize also that some people want to come to church to sit in the pews and worship God very solemnly. Several weeks ago, Mike Taylor lead the song “Days of Elijah”. From time to time, the Spirit has been known to lead people to clapping during that song. That’s just what he did too. Afterwards, a lot of people said how “awkward” they felt. Some wanted to join in, but just didn’t. A lot of people wanted to hear from the Elders that it is OK to clap.
Its very important for us to stay scriptural about things, but its also very important for us to have an understanding of what is scriptural and what is just tradition. How radical of a change was it when Jesus came? What will heaven be like? Will we be sitting in pews at the throne of God or will we be dancing and singing around the throne of God?