Remember these folks?
Well, the doo hit the fan right.before.church. Most of the choir members are receptive to learning "new" songs. On the Sundays that new music is sung, I try very hard to make sure the choir has the music (music and lyrics) so it can be practiced Wednesday night at Choir Practice. Today, we were going to try 'Heart of Worship' by Matt Redmon (Yeah, I know - "new" music).
Someone came and got me, saying the choir was up in arms. I arrived in the Choir Room only to discover that most of them were happily singing away. Aggie was pitching a fit because the organist was playing the piano.
Aggie, if you remember, is a lot like She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named from the Church-I-Used-to-Serve. It IS all about her and her husband, Elmer. She refuses to play anything but the old standards.
Unfortunately, the computer we use to play CDs imploded right before church. I was going to sing Heart of Worship to an accompany CD, but that wasn't going to happen. Hmmm. Aggie doesn't play "new" music, but Organist (who ironically is the same age as Aggie) can and will play anything. And it's five minutes to Worship. What a time to pitch a fit!
I went back to the Choir and sang with the Choir. Aggie wasn't singing. When the song finished, she launched into the same old song: "NO ONE LIKES THESE SONGS! WE'RE GOING TO LOSE PEOPLE IF YOU CONTINUE TO FORCE US TO DO THESE! YADA, YADA, YADA!! I FEEL LIKE I'M NOT NEEDED ANYMORE!"
Oh, please. Give.me.a.break.
Almost everyone else said, "I like this song! I like to learn new music! I don't know what your problem is, Aggie!"
Her sole supporter said, "We want to sing songs out of the hymnal!"
I gently reminded Sole Supporter that out of the five songs we sing per Sunday, three are old familiars AND they are out of the hymnal. Oops, Sole Supporter.
And I asked the choir what they wanted the most for the church. Almost unanimously, they answered, "Young people and middle-age folks."
AND I once again I reminded them, growth comes with change and change comes with discomfort. These "new" songs are the songs the young, young adults and middle-agers are listening to and singing (Thanks to the scarcity of area radio stations other than the Christian stations.) And it's not about us. Getting out of our comfort zones is the price we pay for evangelism and discipleship.
We sang Heart of Worship accompanied by Organist on the piano and it seems most of the congregation knew it. There were hands being raised and eyes being closing and a sweet spirit filling the church. And I know God was being offered the best we have to give.
Aggie decided not to join in the Passing of the Peace, not even shaking hands with the other choir members. (Insert eye roll here) Whatever.
I will be sad if Aggie and Elmer decide to attend Hubby's church. Most of their friends are there. It's the OTHER UMC in town, but it has no young or middle-aged people. Just a bunch of older folks who don't want to change. He and the associate pastor do a wonderful job of pastoring, but both of them acknowledge that it is just a matter of time before they close, unless Jesus comes back or they decide to change.
This is the part of pastoring I don't like. Interestingly enough, Aggie's nephew has threatened to leave Church-Around-the-Corner unless we start singing new music.
Can't win for losing. This one's in God's hands.