23 February, 2007

Church Goes "Glam Rock" to Attract "Old Rockers"


It is a Sunday morning at Holy Kiss Baptist Church. The lights in the sanctuary dim as smoke fills the room. Suddenly in the darkness spotlights begin to move around. Cheers and screams arise from the congregation. Then the mysterious sound of the lone beat of a kick drum begins pounding out a 4/4 rhythm, accenting the first beat every time. The tension and excitement heighten when an electric guitar lets out a growling "thrash" on a single chord that seems to ring forever. And finally, when it seems that the building momentum can go no further in runs Pastor David Remington, face painted, hair-waving. He falls to his knees sliding to the center of the stage and air-guitars to an improvised solo by the church's praise band guitarist.

"Are you ready to solid rock?" Screams Remington to the cheering crowd that responds with a resounding "Amen!" Repeating himself, he screams again, "I said are you ready to solid rock all you saints?" "Amen!" the shouts come again. The praise band begins playing the music to Poison's Don't Need Nothing But a Good Time, but the words are that of Rock of Ages Cleft for Me.

Thus goes a typical Sunday at Holy Kiss Baptist Church, a church that, until about
5 years ago, resembled most average mainstream Baptist churches in America. But when the church determined to focus their outreach to "Old Rockers" they decided to contextualize their worship in order to make people feel more comfortable.

"We now have more than 1000 people attending now." Said Remington. "All of the songs that we sing are new words set to old Rock tunes."

Examples of the church's music include Prepare Me for Heaven set to Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven, and Save Me Up set to the Rolling Stones' Start Me Up.

"One song that always gets the crowd going is when we do Sinful Ways set to Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze." Said Remington as he broke into an impromptu rendition,

"Sinful ways,
All in my life,

Causing me
So much pain and strife.

It ain't funny,
And I tell you why,
'scuse me while I pray and cry."

"And, of course," Said Remington, "some songs like The Doobie Brothers' Jesus is Just Alright With Me, need no adjustment whatsoever."

"It's been the coolest thing I've ever been to." Said church member Henry Woodriff. "Brother Dave just tears the place apart week after week."

Remington usually ends the time of praise and worship which he calls the "Solid Rock Concert" by either smashing or burning a guitar on stage. This is followed by his sermon which he calls the "backstage pass." During this time, Remington sits on a couch on the stage, kicks up his feet and just talks to his "fans" about something from the Bible.

"Attendance is growing and growing." Said Remington. "If things continue I think we'll start bringing in some opening acts."


Amanda said...

Unfortunately, this post doesn't sound too far from reality.

Anonymous said...

It would certainly kick up the worship services a notch if churches actually got on the "band wagon".

Anonymous said...

Yeah, after reading this, all I could think of was watching a youtube video of a service of Rick Warrens saddleback church in astonishment...everyone jumping around screaming, skits, choreographed dancing by little kids...its sad.

"There is no fear of God before their eyes" - Romans 3:8

Stefan Ewing said...

I'm glad this church is reaching out to old people. They're our most important resource, and we should do whatever we can to make them feel welcome in the community of Christ, even playing the music they used to listen to when they were young.

Sully said...

Very funny! It spoke to my heart as an "old rocker". I look forward to my daily dose of Tominthebox.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

God-fearing worship just isn't cutting it these days. Lost people won't come to your church if you sing about being in sin, or God's attributes, or about substitionary atonement. If we want lost people to come to our church, we can't possibly sing songs with good theology in them. They want to hear secular stuff when they come to church. I am going to talk to my pastor about hiring Eminem as our assistant Music Minister.

pilgrim said...

You know, back in my pre-Christian days--this sort of thing would have turned me off.

But then again in my early Christian days I got into Stryper--so you never know.

I'm wondering if there's anyone out there looking at your blog for ideas to "borrow"

I hope not--I hope they see the satire...

Malachi_Abaddon said...

I pray for my friends who would enjoy this kind of service.

Fred Butler said...

I thought this was a real band?! Am I wrong?! If they are into Rush, I would, like, seriously attend this church.


Anonymous said...

You have to admit, though, modern praise and worship is seriously lacking in the "long-guitar-solo" and "power ballad" areas. "November Rain" could be "Save Yourself Some Pain" . . . "its hard to hold a candle, so just save yourself some pain." I could worship to that :\ The solo could be for meditation time.