"I'm dreaming of a Jazzy Vesper!"

Richmond, VA from the east side of town.
So...it has been a while since I've posted...but I'm sure you'll understand when I say this Christmas season was extremely busy. In addition to the usual stuff...my wife and I surprised family by traveling home for the New Year holiday. It was great to visit our old stomping ground in Richmond, VA. We went to church with friends and family...and spent a lot of time doing all the things we never did when we lived in River City! (If you're ever there...stop by the Poe Museum...pretty cool stuff.)

I know it is called "vacation"...but no matter how hard I try...I never really stop thinking about folks at church. Even simple things like driving down the street can suddenly spawn thoughts that keep me up half the night thinking about exciting new ideas for Sunday morning. And it wasn't much different "vacationing" in Richmond.

Here is a picture of something that reduced the number of hours I slept while "vacationing". Before posting this picture, I questioned whether or not I should Photoshop out the telephone number and website...but figured if they were confident enough to put it on a banner...they wouldn't mind me posting it on my blog and sharing it with folks.

I'm not gonna go on a rant about all the things this banner says to me about consumerism in church...or delve into deep thoughts about all of the possible characteristics of a "Jazz Vesper" (which made me giggle thinking about Bing Crosby singing Christmas songs in church)...I'll even fight the temptation of revisiting all of my previous postings about gimmicks that trick people into going to worship...but I can't help but try to figure out why churches do this sort of thing. And I think I've got it.

I had a great conversation with my father this week about corporate worship. It was good to talk "church" with him. We explored the gifts of the church and how personalities influence church growth. In our conversation, my dad helped me realize something that I hadn't quite figured before. Romans 12 worship...has negated Rev. 4 worship for most churches. I've said similar things before...but it sorta hit me like a ton of bricks this week. Pastors are much quicker to preach about serving others than they are about how to express appreciation to God. I don't blame them I guess...if I wasn't such a worship nerd...I'd probably rather hear a sermon about how to positively influence someone else's life than how to engage in prayer with others (who might not be motivated to pray with me).

Perhaps churches aren't really seeing worship gatherings as anything more than a means by which we train people to serve others? Perhaps it is too difficult to actually move people to passionately sing/pray/dance/read the bible and...since the Great Commission doesn't mention doing those things...well, we can probably do without it and still make it to heaven...right?

Whatever the case...I'm intrigued. Perhaps the next time I'm home...I'll find out what a "Jazz Vesper" is? Yeah...that's a great idea. I'm sure it would be a positive influence on my sleeping habits.

Question: Would you be more interested in learning from your Pastor about 1) HOW to WORSHIP...or 2) HOW to SERVE others?


  1. I am not going to a Jazz Vesper with you unless Bing is going to be there. That is all. :)

  2. Jazz vespers... I'd say something snarky, but I haven't heard them play, they may be pretty good. But the Celtic worship thing is apparently their niche, it's been there for ages. I'm with you, if a church service isn't about worshipping God & Jesus, it's going down a false trail.

  3. O.K. As requested, a comment on your blog - or rather questions: Is there a right way (and therefore a wrong way) to worship God? Does the Christian Church (of which there are so many) continue worship services unchanged from 2,000 years ago? I guess I'm just wondering if a jazz fan cannot love and worship his/her God as well as the hymn-singer. I'm sure I'll misquote this but - whensoever two or more of you are gathered together in My name...............Irene

  4. There IS a wrong way to worship God...and that is to put something else at the center of attention...like a musical style. I'm not saying that this is what this particular church is doing...but I didn't see a big banner out front the church proclaiming their love for Jesus at 8:30am, 11am, and 5pm.

  5. So is this a problem with churches or with consumers (churchgoers)? If the heart of the average churchgoer is in the wrong place - "I'm not going there if they don't play the style of worship I like" - then how do churches get them through the door in a way that honors the Lord?

  6. Aaahhh...the $10,000.00 question. However, it implies that the goal of worship is to "get them through the door"...which isn't the purpose of worship...or even the purpose of church...dispite how much Pastors want their church membership to increase. On the other hand...if Christians are worshiping authentically (regardless of style)...then Christ will draw them in. The bigger question is...do church leaders have the kind of faith that relies on Christ being the light that draws? Or should we all have as many different styles of worship at as many different times as possible so that every preference is covered...and then ask them to listen to a sermon about Jesus when they'd rather hear another jazzy song? All I'm saying is...if the purpose of worship is to bring glory to God...then why don't we advertise that?

  7. I'm not sure what a Vesper is... Was King David a "vesper"?

  8. Has anyone ever been to these worship services?

    1. Tell me asap....what is the one true way to worship God? I'm getting on in years and I think I better get on the "one true way" before my time is up.

    2. Dear Anonymous,
      Worship in Spirit and Truth (John 4). No style is the best. The point of this post is... just like many other churches, this banner is advertising a buffet of styles as if it is the most important characteristic of worship...as if simply worshiping God is not enough of a draw in and of itself. Why not just post the worship times if not relying on the style to be the draw?

      Would love to know your name! :)