Thursday, September 9, 2010
#187 Contemporary and traditional worship services
Evangelical churches are big on customer service. The last thing they want to do is alienate certain demographics, so many evangelical churches offer at least two services to accommodate generational differences. With separate traditional (old people) and contemporary (young people) worship services, the two generations need not co-mingle while singing worship songs that half of them don't like.
The traditional service always goes first, usually at 9 o'clock or thereabouts. The reasoning appears to be that older people go to bed early on Saturday nights right after Huckabee is over, so they'll be up and ready to make it. The traditional service has "classic" "hymns" and worship songs that the more mature congregant is presumed to enjoy. The contemporary service starts around 11 am. It's assumed that all the young upstarts were out doing What Young People Do On Saturday Nights, so they start things later and sing extended anthems to Jesus in which the word "I" is used a lot.
The separate services make co-mingling of the generations less likely, but the church leaders might figure that wouldn't happen anyway. They don't seem to think young people would want anything to do with the older people and maybe vice versa. Fostering these relationships isn't a priority and besides, it might be too much to expect the young people to stick around during lame hymns. That wouldn't "appeal" to them. To create a bigger draw, they delegate someone with flat-ironed hair and guyliner to lead worship. The outsiders feel like they're being advertised to, and the congregants get the same message, if only on a subconscious level.
Some churches tout a night worship service if you just can't get your ass out of bed Sunday morning. The underlying missive: you get up early for work and school, but doing it for the sake of kingdom community on the weekend is asking too much. Point taken.