satire of a contemporary american church service

ok, so, i’d seen this video (but not watched it) on about 5 different blogs this week. in fact, part of why i didn’t watch it was because it was on so many blogs (snobby, huh?). but i had a few minutes to kill, caved, and watched it. and i laughed my butt off. it’s funny, yup, but also such a sadly accurate bit of satire.

so, i will join the blogging masses and post it here, for those 3 or 4 who have either missed it elsewhere, or — like me — were resisting watching it.

“Sunday’s Coming” Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

(btw: this puppy was made by north point church)

12 thoughts on “satire of a contemporary american church service”

  1. I too avoided this because I saw it so many places. Checked it out last night and agree: very funny and very sad that all our “creativity” can be bundled into 3 minutes.

    Side note: Loving “Middle School Ministry” Thanks for teaming up with Scott to write it. Great resource!

  2. Marko-
    It’s really sad. Just think, if I never have been a part of that kind of service, and saw this video before attending a contemporary service, I would think that it would be really cheesy. And it is.

    This is the question of how do we get away from being a Sunday morning production and Worship God.

  3. Hey Marko,

    I responded to this video on my blog after reading your post this morning. I’m not a blog snob like you, and posted the trailer. =) (I’m just not as well read as you, of course)

    In response to Jim, I work at a church like this video. I’ve been wrestling, struggling, and questioning the tension between production and worship for quite some time – both in the middle school service context and “big” church environment as well.

    I’ve also seen the darker (not just ignorant) side of BIG flashy ministry. My family was a part of the late 1980’s televangelist scandals, and my grandfather went to prison for his involvement with PTL in South Carolina. On one level, that place was great. Homes for handicapped, unwed mothers, and massive efforts to help the poor and less fortunate… but the lights were however really bright and the focus shifted away from bringing God glory…I digress.

    I wonder if part of the truth in this satirical commentary on the church is exposing our wrong definition of success? (Somewhere Henri Nouwen is smiling at us)

  4. We sang a new song in church on Sunday and I couldn’t focus cuz I was singing “The song that nobody knows”

  5. Holy-wow… That was awesome and painful in so many ways! I think I’ve played all those roles at one time… (dramatic pause)… (whispers) or another.

  6. Yeah, my wife and I got tires of these kind of ‘produced’ church services and kept looking until we found one that wasn’t. We love the church we’re in now. Low tech, almost no production (other than one constant set of lights and the PPT for lyrics), and very down to earth, genuine people from the top on down.

  7. I love that it was North Point who made it – and that makes me appreciate it all the more. I think you would agree, but wouldn’t it be somewhat like what happens at a YS Convention too in the main sessions with some variations of skits and all?

    The video didn’t bother me too much – as I think you could probably make a video of a house church meeting and end up coming up with repetitive routines. The pause of who says the prayer before the meal or ends the prayer time. The time to start after a meal signals and shift to the study. Awkward singing time with 10 people time. Parodies of common personality types in a house church (the dominant talker, the long prayer-person etc.) and make a video of that.

    Or a video of a liturgical church – and the routines of the pastor putting on a robe, the routines and predictablity of what happens during a church gathering of that type. The organist taking his or her position to play at the strategic time. Or any type of church meeting really you could do this with.

    What I find more important personally, is exploring what else does a church do in addition to Sundays? What is spiritually being formed as a result of the whole church, not just Sunday. I know at North Point they focus a ton of energy and time into smaller group meetings that happen – and heard from a staff person how Andy Stanley got up in from of 1,000 small group leaders to strongly emphasize that they are really the “pastors” who are involved in peoples lives etc. So I know their bigger Sunday meetings are simply one part of the whole life of the church.

    Anyway, some thoughts as I have watched and enjoyed that video about 10 times this past week!

  8. Thanks for the video. It’s very funny because it is SO true. So much for creativity. I guess the sheep analogy is still as apt as ever.

    I think our struggle these days is not really so much with new communication technology or contemporary music or formulaic techniques copied from those big, hip, “successful” churches (via pricy out-of-town seminars/books/and subscriptions to helpful websites for the less creative arts departments). I don’t see anything wrong with any of them, per se. But there is “Danger Will Robinson!” [vague TV reference for old people]

    I’m thinking the struggle is the same as it has always been no matter what the liturgy looks like, high tech/low tech, contemporary/traditional… Are we relying on our bells and whistles or what worked for someone else more than trusting the Holy Spirit and cooperating with Him through prayer? Who (or what) gets the glory when people are touched? (remember the apostle Paul actually simplified on occasion to avoid anything that would make people think it was his great oratory skills rather than the power of God)
    Where is our focus, time and energy placed as we prepare each week? And does any of our meticulous planning make it hard to listen and obey should God decide to take us off our precisely timed production scripts Sunday Morning?

    Bottom Line: Who and what is our faith actually in? God knows and is happy to tell us if we are truly willing to listen.

    I hope we are…every single week.

  9. Okay, Marco, how about a WORSHIP 3.0??? We live in a 2.0 world but God is so much bigger than that…. what if…. we let Him be God sometimes….?

  10. Mike,

    Sorry for getting back so late with a reply to the comment. I totally agree with what you are saying, especially with the contemporary service being the focal point of success. Worship is the tip of the iceberg, where most people use it as the whole iceberg.

  11. Hello, I saw this video for the first time a few days ago. Now in trying to find it again to show to my family, it seems to have been taken off the ‘air waves’. Would you happen to know how I can view it? Thanks.

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