Friday, March 11, 2011

30 things that thrill me - Day 3

The wonderful "seasoned citizens" at South Lansing Christian Church.

The older folks that attend the church where I preach are some of the most graceful people I have ever had the pleasure to know. They are supportive. They are faithful - both to God and to their church. They are committed to growing in their faith even when many of their peers have locked into spiritual cruise control.

If I could identify a characteristic that makes them uniquely special, however, it is their flexibility.

Their generation has experienced more changes that mine can possibly imagine. They've had a front row seat as they have watched the everyday conveniences and amazing gadgets that we take for granted go from the stuff of comic books to reality. The church has not been exempt from the changes that they have observed and, in some cases, endured, either.

Nowhere have these changes been more dramatic than in the church's music. And, in this respect, our older church members have demonstrated amazing patience and flexibility. I have been told this several times since coming to Lansing, but a video from a fellow preacher's blog drew a sharp contrast between the good folks here and the . . . well, watch the video and decide for yourself.

To be fair, I don't know this dear woman. I don't know the church, the music or the situation. On the other hand, I think every preacher knows this woman. She makes demands and cloaks them as a plaintive request. She issues threats and then wraps them in a pietistic, "We're praying for you."

Our folks aren't that way. Years ago, when our church was transitioning to a more contemporary style of worship music, our leaders communicated with these stakeholders frequently. This dialogue helped immensely, but what really made the difference was the attitude our older constituency had as characterized by one woman who said, "I can't say that I like the new music as much as the old, but when I look around me and see all the young people here worshiping, I understand and support what you're doing."

That's not to say we've always got it right. We haven't. We've had to break out the decibel meter from time to time. And, on occasion, we've had good people urge us to do so more frequently. But the men and women who have talked to us about our volume and variety in our worship sets have always done so with respect and grace.

Thank God for them.

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