Humble Worship Home

Below was a welcome I used for one of the worship conferences at our church a few years back.  Since then, we have redesigned the space. As you can see in the pictures, below, we set up a stage on  weekly basis for about seven years. Three months ago, the space was renovated which included taking down the back wall of the gym and adding a permanent stage on the end.  We are grateful for the new opportunities for reaching people, but finding this little welcome today was a reminder to me that worship can take place in any setting. 

There are coffee stains on the floor, we are lighting the stage with two donated can lights hung on the beams with clamps and two industrial work lights, one of which is out at the moment.

We have mauve carpet, a blue trim line, and peach walls from ’95 when we built this building.  Approximately 200 children, youth and adults have dinner here every Wednesday night, sport teams play here many weeks of the year, and if someone gets a soda between 9:00 and 10:00 on Sundays, everyone turns around to look.

Each week we set up this portable stage for worship on Sunday and most of the time, it works – except for one Sunday when three of the four drummers were in the congregation, but since we couldn’t find the sticks, we just skipped drums that day.

Today, you are welcome, in the house of God.  We are not perfect in getting things together, but God’s spirit is here in this place.  It’s fun to show up here and praise the Lord.

And I think of Psalm 81 :10 – I would rather be a door keeper in the house of the Lord than dwell in the tent of the wicked.

I want you to enjoy being in the house of the Lord today.  Let’s worship him – with our lives and with our hearts.



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2 thoughts on “Humble Worship Home”

  1. Nice!

    Back in my days with Son City, we transformed a lily-white sanctuary into a pretty good facsimile of a rock concert venue for two nights a week. The fixtures in the rostrum area were replaced with a portable stage riser that gave a flat surface from the choir loft out to the nave area. Loudspeakers were set on the stage, and created a backstage area with access to the ambulatories out of sight to the audience. This allowed some pretty fancy stage blocking and access to dressing rooms.

    Son City got the cast-offs from Bill Hybels’ youth program, including some pretty fair touring PA and lighting equipment. We had a Soundcraft 16 channel mixer, a modest effects rack, and a FOH PA featuring Crown (naturally) amps and Community loudspeakers. The lighting system was an equally impressive 12 channel “remote control” system, with the dimmer packs beneath the stage and a long snake connecting them to the remote console. The stage lighting was rigged on a pair of T-shaped “trees” with a selection of old, heavy conventional Fresnel and ellipsoidal fixtures.

    Because this stuff was meant to travel, it was taken to special events and retreats.

    Conventional lighting was augmented by an A/V system consisting of a pair of Kodak Carousel industrial projectors with a programmable event controller.

    Sound and lighting control was set up in the overflow seating loft at the back of the nave, along with a small follow spot. That area became my “church away from church” for several years.

    As more conservative Baby Boomers became the leaders of the church, Son City was scaled way down and moved to the much smaller church gym. I made a modest contribution in designing a new FOH loudspeaker system for the gym to replace the room-dominating Community Leviathan-based FOH stack.

    I did go to see Hybels’ Willow Creek Church several times. Although it was brimming with state of the art stagecraft and TV production facilities, it was too…clinical. It reeked of the Establishment image that Hybels’ own market research showed were the biggest turn-offs to conventional “church”. Although the technology at Willow Creek was up-to-date, the “this is how it’s done” mindset had returned with a vengeance.

    As a participant in Son City and other Christian Rock projects, and the son of parents who had been to many tent revivals in their day, I have to say that I prefer the “itinerant” worship venue. To me it says “we went to all this trouble for you.” I see a powerful message in that.

    Don’t ever let your ministry get so deeply entrenched that it loses the ability to bring its full force to bear when and where it’s needed. The first churches were agile like that. For those congregations who will never part with the big real estate, consider interactive streaming video and other new media tools to reach out to those who can’t make it to you. And when it’s a fine summer day, why not take everything outside? Be bold!

  2. “I have to say that I prefer the “itinerant” worship venue. To me it says “we went to all this trouble for you.” I see a powerful message in that. Don’t ever let your ministry get so deeply entrenched that it loses the ability to bring its full force to bear when and where it’s needed.”

    great coupld of lines. thanks.

    sounds like you had some interesting experiences with all of that… and the history of bill hybels and the church is interesting too!

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