04 February, 2008

"Speaker-Sensitive" Churches Growing

Dayton Beach, Fl - Several months ago Meredith Bailer decided that something had to change. At 83 years of age Bailer, a life long member of a local Methodist Church (name intentionally withheld), had struggled for some time ever since her congregation switched to more contemporary worship almost three years ago. 
"I didn't mind the music so much" said Bailer.  "I actually liked some of the songs we sang at the church.  But the problem was the noise.  Those big speakers up at the front just boomed and boomed every time they'd play them drums.  And that one fellow on the guitar would just play so loud that I couldn't even hear myself think."

As it turns out, Bailer discovered she was not the only one who struggled with a sensitivity to loud noises.  Not only did a number of elderly members of the church struggle with the noise issue, but even several of the younger members also. 

Bailer tried each Sunday to endure the 2 hour long service at her church.  But several weeks ago while reading her newspaper she saw and advertisement for a new congregation that was forming in the Dayton Beach area called "New Hope Christian Fellowship."  What caught Bailer's eye was that the church touted itself as being "Speaker-Sensitive." 

"That caught my eye immediately" said Bailer.  "I quickly picked up the phone and called to find out more."

Bailer's call was answered by the cheerful voice of New Hope's pastor, Brent Davis.

"Ever since we've put the add in the paper we've gotten literally hundreds of calls from people like Mrs. Bailer" said Davis.  "What's unique about our church is that we are speaker-sensitive, we use absolutely no amplification in our church.  We have a praise band, but everything is 'unplugged' and acoustically driven.  When I preach I just have to speak up.  There are no microphones in our church.  We don't want to be a stumbling block in any way for anyone who would come into the doors of our church sensitive to noise."

New Hope's methodology seems to be successful.  In just three months since the church's founding, its membership has grown to almost 300.  

"I just enjoy it so much" said Bailer.  "I do miss my old congregation, but it's just so much easier to think and worship now without a drum banging so loudly in my ear."


Corey Reynolds said...

I'm the pastor of a for-real speaker-sensitive church. We have absolutely no amplification whatsoever. If I were to preach in our tiny auditorium with a microphone, it would be like whispering to someone with a bullhorn.

Peter Kirk said...

But what will happen when Mrs Bailer's age advances enough that she starts to go deaf? She won't be able to pick up anything on her hearing aid at New Hope. But if she goes back to her Methodist church, although they probably have a state-of-the-art deaf loop system, she won't need it because the volume is loud enough already. This is not just satire, we really do have at least one older partially deaf person who likes to attend our high volume youth service.

Hannah Schaefer said...

The music at my church is definitely loud, but our pastors take great delight in reporting that the congregation is WAY louder! Once during the fellowship time, the sound man measured the decible level of all the people talking and laughing with one another and compared it to the decible level of the music during the worship service. The talking and fellowshipping was exceptionally higher in decibles than the music! Strange, huh?

Brother Slawson said...

I'm confused... how is true worship possible without amps?

And while we're on it... which disciples played which instruments when they worshipped the Lord Jesus just before the ascension at the end of Matthew?