"I love playing the heavy!"
"I love these plays. They're a great way to get to know other people in the church."
"I've been impressed with what a powerful impact they have."
"It's a way I can give something to the church. Maybe the Lord can use me to reach someone."
"So often people have said that the drama really spoke to them."
"They're just so much fun!"
Articles in this issue:
"I love playing the heavy!"
Stephen Githumbi, raised in a Kenyan village and later educated in theology in the US, has had close experience with the Christian church in both cultures. He offers the following observations on celebration in African worship as "a way of living out the Christian faith that can be instructive to the American church."
It was so easy for so long—so natural that we did it almost without thinking. Worship, that is.
Jerusalem was our home, not only geographically but culturally. And so we were at home with everything. Including worship. It was a reflection of us, of our people, and of our culture. We spoke the same language, sang the same rhythms, danced the same dances.
Lyle Schaller, the church-growth guru, suggests that one strategy for revitalizing a church is to cancel the "summer slump." Most churches do go through a slump period in the summer: the pastor and the choir go on vacation; the Sunday School doesn't meet; and church attendance drops dramatically. Schaller points out that summer is also the time when the greatest number of visitors (and potential new members) come through most churches, so he advocates maintaining a full program throughout the summer.
Things are not going smoothly at First Church. Everything was quite peaceful and predictable until the new pastor arrived. He hadn't been on the job for more than a few weeks before changes started creeping into the liturgy.
There is a story in the Russian Primary Chronicle that tells how Christianity came to Russia. According to this true story Vladimir, Prince of Kiev, sent several of his followers in search of "true religion."
First they went to the Moslem Bul-gars of the Volga but returned with the report that they found "no joy" but only "a mournfulness and a great smell."
Next they went to Germany and Rome, where they found the worship more satisfactory but still lacking in power.
I have trouble with some of the terms that are used to describe church musicians. They can be very misleading in a culture that views musicians as entertainers—people who provide the extra, ornamental frills. Even though the nature of the entertainment may vary widelyófrom dance band to lounge piano to symphony orchestra to ballpark organ to solo recital—the general perception remains the same: music is regarded as an extra, an ornament.