September 27, 2009 by

An Anomaly of Sorts


Categories: random stuff, Things I Should Probably Not Be Telling You

There’s an interesting development connected to our recent move to Denver, one that’s a bit of an anomaly to me, and one that I haven’t brought up here thus far–mostly because I wasn’t sure how to explain it. But here goes…

I’m leading worship on Sunday mornings. In an institutional church.

Considering the many criticisms I’ve made of institutional church structures on this blog…perhaps I should unpack that last statement. 🙂

My opinions haven’t changed, but if you’ve been following along, you’ll realize that most of my critiques of institutional forms of Christianity are pragmatic, not personal. I just see so many instances where it doesn’t work well, where people are hurt, where the stakes are too high, etc. I don’t have time to go into it all here, but read past posts if you don’t understand.

That said…in brainstorming with friends and family about what sorts of things I ought to be doing in Denver, I have come to realize three things:

  1. How a church is structured doesn’t change the fact that the people involved are the body of Christ–my brethren–and I want to help and encourage them whenever possible.
  2. Worship leading is still a skill set I possess, and if I can use it to help and encourage other believers, I ought to do so when possible.
  3. I do not want to be guilty again of boxing God in as far as opportunities He might give me. (And make no mistake–we can box God in just as much outside the institutions as inside them. Anything can be religious, including non-institutionality.)

So while we are in this in-between stage, I determined that if God wanted to give me such and opportunity, I would help out somewhere–provided, of course, that the leadership still wanted me around if they ever Googled me and read my blog. 🙂

All this to say…one of the two connections that God sort of used to summon us to Denver is my old college friend Mike, whose book I reviewed here. I’ve been up front with Mike about my journey from the beginning. It turns out that he and another guy named Eugene are doing a church plant in the area, and when I asked him if he knew of any church who might need a little help, he suggested his. I met with his co-pastor, and we three kept up conversations through the summer, and came to a consensus that–at least for a season–we should walk together. So I’m the “interim worship leader” there, a very small time commitment, just helping out. And Mike and Eugene have expressed an interest in returning the favor when it comes time for us to pursue the dream in our hearts.

I’d be lying if I said I was completely comfortable doing this again. And I’d be suprised if Mike and Eugene are completely comfortable with it–I think I’ve already thrown them a couple of curve balls. However, there is a relationship behind this that extends beyond the jobs we do for the church, and it seems there is something God wants to do in all of us involved through this connection. Mike and Eugene are from such different backgrounds that it is a bit of an anomaly in itself that they are collaborating. And I think it speaks well of Mike and Eugene (who have read my blog) to bring me into the mix without pressing me to compromise my convictions.

It is a diverse blend, to say the least. 🙂

So I’m doing it.

We’ll see how things go, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say as we go along.

Musician. Composer. Recovering perfectionist. Minister-in-transition. Lover of puns. Hijacker of rock song references. Questioner of the status quo. I'm not really a rebel. Just a sincere Christ-follower with a thirst for significance that gets me into trouble. My quest has taken me over the fence of institutional Christianity. Here are some of my random thoughts along the way. Read along, join in the conversation. Just be nice.

5 Responses to An Anomaly of Sorts

  1. Randi Jo :)

    so are you going to be 'just leading worship'… or… worship pastor – being one of the pastors of the church? or is not set up like that?

  2. Jeff McQ

    Randi Jo,
    It's kind of hard to say, actually. For all intents and purposes, the worship leader thing is little more than a gig, a few hours a week. But I know they see me as more than that for the long term–not necessarily as a pastor in their church, but certainly as a minister networked with them, and whom they want to help when it comes time for us to develop a creative commmunity. They view that as a church plant of sorts, although those aren't the words I'd use to describe it. 🙂

    It's an interesting dichotomy because although they're functioning in an institutional format, there are moments when they definitely think outside that box. They don't want to be "church as usual", but like so many of us, they are taking a rather messy path to figure out what that means, exactly. 🙂 So more than anything else, I guess we're friends working together in the mess.

  3. Randi Jo :)

    that's awesome! can't wait to see what you learn through all this.

    I appreciate the tone of this blog entry and the words. Without you knowing it – it really helped me in many areas I've been wrestling with and made me remember again that things are never as black/white…. in/out… as I might always act like they are.

    Great reminder that no matter what form – the people are the people and are the Body of Christ…. if God has put people in our paths and put us in a position of influence with them with a chance to be in relationship with them – surely we must give, love and encourage as He always commands us to do (2nd greatest commandment)

    thanks! 🙂

  4. Richard W

    For me you said it in:
    "there is a relationship behind this that extends beyond the jobs we do for the church"

    Our life is about relationships – with God and each other.
    We need to follow the relationships God gives us – and it seems that is what you are doing.

    I resonate with your comment on "friends working together in the mess"
    And with begin networked together.

    We are not designed to be alone – even if God puts us in that place at times for His purposes.

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