The Perfect Church Service

May 7, 2010

How long does it take for something cool to become a running joke?

Everyone likes to look like they’re with it, and that they know what they’re doing.  Churches put as much energy into making worship “flow” as any performance.  No one wants to see someone trip and throw communion juice everywhere, or someone get stuck in an awkward pause, or the doves get released into the sanctuary at the wrong time. 

So churches, pastors, choirs, and band rehearse and practice so everyone is impressed.  Sometimes it pays off, and God himself shows up just in time for the key change in the third verse.  Other times, it comes off as dorky as a Ke$ha performance on Saturday Night Live (she looked like she had been bitten by a pack of rabid laser cats from 1987.)  And sometimes, church just turns into a long-running joke so predictable, David Letterman could’ve written it himself.

Take this church service for example…

“Sunday’s Coming” Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Recognize your church in there somewhere?

13 responses to The Perfect Church Service

  1. Brilliant self-effacing satire by folks who do it every week. Though our church leans that way, we aren’t near mega in our attendance, but our service has several of those tendencies in its schedule:

    2 Fast songs
    Pastoral Staff (Including Hip Youth Pastor & Hispanic Ministries Pastor!) calls up prayer team
    2 Slow songs
    1 Fast song
    Pastoral Staff member discusses announcements
    Offering
    80-minute long sermon by the pastor
    Altar call that includes Worship team playing the chorus to the slowest song… repeatedly.
    Benediction
    Worship team sings last fast song chorus–repeatedly

    I know people jump on repetitiveness really hard, but I’m not quite as hard as others because humans find safety in familiarity. There does come a point though that when you can set your watch to how the service flows… not to mention that 80-minute sermon. I’ve usually lost interest about halfway through, no matter what the topic is. I guess I’ll get over that, as the congregation seems well-conditioned to it over the years. ;^)

    One thing they poked fun at was the song that sounds just like how you hear it on the radio. I have to say that’s a pet peeve of mine at my church, as our worship team plays the songs verbatim from the recording–down to the guitar solos. I’m sorry, but it may be acceptable for a group that isn’t that polished to do something like that, but half of our worship band are/were part-time performing artists. You’d think they would be able to put their own musical spin to a song at least once in a while.

    If not, we could sell the $40k worth of musical equipment to buy a laser show, and have some kicking worship services from a CD. ;^)

  2. I’m not a music buff, but I really hate it when people after church say, “The music was awesome, God really showed up.” I’m thinking, “Okay, and if we didn’t have music, then God didn’t show up?” I mean if awesome music makes God show up, then he must show up at all the clubs on Friday and Saturday nights too.

    I love it when things mess up during a church service. I think it’s God’s sense of humor saying, “Yeah, you really don’t have control.”

    • I have loved going to conferences were the worship music is so awesome that I cry.

      I have also loved going to a weekday Mass were there is not instrumental accompaniment and everyone sings “Praise to the Lord” off key and out of tune. It reminds me of singing “Happy Birthday” around a flaming cake. Nice sounding music is not the point of either, though we do want to do our best for the one we are honoring.

  3. There are two types of worship services, Bulletin led and Spirit led. I suppose most churches vacillate between the two.

    I have a really hard time going to a church where God doesn’t show up week in and week out. Everyone has an opinion on worship style, volumn, service length, hair length, dress code and coffee flavor. Satire and stereotypes are funny because they are mostly true.

    Last week I traveled about an hour to a church I heard about. After worshipping to a variety of songs you didn’t need to read the words to because the presence of God was so great, the pastor sang some verses over us. Beautiful! Then he invited a guy who was saved just 6 months and radically delivered from addiction, up front to give a short testimony. As part of that he gave 5 words of knowledge for healing, and 3 of the 5 were instantly healed. ONe of vision problems and 2 of back problems.

    During the offering, a few people came over and introduced themselves to me. Around these parts that is a huge thing. I can’t tell you how many churches I have been to where I stood in the lobby with wife and child and we were ignored.

    Many years ago I was at a monastery and during vespers and the presence of God was so wonderful and indescribable as I sat in a pew; the sanctuary lit by a single candle communing with my God in prayer, in meditative silence and was just filled to overflowing.

    Perfect service? Anytime God’s presence is there, count me in!

  4. Well, I live in rural ‘Bama, so no. I didn’t recognize my church in there. But it was SO funny!

  5. Nice rip off of the Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer (watch here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFicqklGuB0)

  6. That video just about killed me. Back in January, our church started doing a “contemporvant” service the last Sunday night of every month (which I’m happy to say I have a hand in putting together), so this hits hilariously close to home.

    I shouldn’t be allowed to laugh that hard so early in the morning. It ruins the rest of my day because NOTHING ELSE will be that funny.

  7. Oh yeah! That was soooooo funny!! Because it’s true!

    I’m going to be the hip guy with the cool glasses this Sunday – :) No tatts though… perhaps I should get one or two for the occasion!

  8. Thank you for posting this! Not only do I recognize our church (somewhat) and our kids’ church (have the video folks been there, or what?!), but I’m reposting it on my own blog.

    It does make me wonder what motivates us to attend church. Entertainment? A chance to see our friends? Great teaching? A desire to be blessed–or to bless God? Why should we go to church? Because the Bible says not to neglect meeting together?

  9. Nice video- very funny! Thanks for sharing it with us, Matt. :)

  10. This is hilarious and unfortunately right on the mark.

  11. Matt,

    I hadn’t heard of Ke$ha or her song before this post so I went to Hulu.com to check it out. Wow, that was strange. I’m farther out of the mainstream than I thought. But thanks for the “Sunday Morning” video. It was hilarious. I’m going to post it on my church’s facebook page. Hope it doesn’t hit too close to home.