First, I am writing this as the "newest pastor" in my town. I am looking for some serious thoughts as it relates to Christian musicians [worship team members] playing secular music outside the church. I have been asked by members of a worship team that I have played with to get together and play a benefit for a Catholic Church/School Fundraising event. At this event alcohol with be served [yes, at a church fundraiser] and the song list that I have received is all secular music. The music is mostly classic rock [ie: Jumpin Jack Flash, Jet Airliner, Already Gone by the Eagles, Can't Explain by The Who, etc...] with only one Third Day song which is Christian focused. How does one handle a situation such as this? On one hand I am playing with a great group of Spirit Filled Christian men who love God, and on the other, especially as a Pastor, I feel torn as to what kind of message this will send, as I am a leader in Christ's Church. You thoughts??????
The first thought that comes to mind, is wow, what an opportunity to be involved in your community! We have a pastor in our town who is the chaplin to the Royal Canadian Legion - and as any Canadian knows, the Legion is where people go to get cheap drinks. But they love him, and always ask him to preside at funerals and other important events that involve the Legion. I'm not saying he drinks while he's there (I don't really know), but it certainly does not tarnish his reputation; rather, it raises it.
I'm sure you know all the arguments: Jesus went to weddings and even provided the wine; he was known as a friend of publicans and sinners; the Bible doesn't say 'don't drink', but only 'don't get drunk'. I'm wondering if you've really thought the whole alcohol issue through for yourself or if you're riding through on the traditions of your upbringing? (Not trying to be caustic here; it's just something to really think about).
As for the songs, unless they are outright songs about lust, getting stoned or similar things, then I'd have no problem playing them. The point is, they speak to people, and who better to interpret them in a meaningful way than a Christian musician?
All the best in your decision.
what rick said really!
Jesus would be out there engaging with the community and mixing with 'sinners'. it sounds like a great opportunity
go for it!
I think people will love it because they can see a church full of "Real" people
and they will actually like the music ;-)
I tend to have the same feeling about the alchohol, it's a tricky thing to judge in freedom. I saw a great non-Christian band who's lead singer kept putting down scotch during the show. They were such a good band, but by the end, he was getting pretty lit. And so was a portion of the crowd - right along with him. So they might perceive participation as giving credence to excess. I just like to be careful. When there are parties at my neighborhood pool, they drink too much. I avoid drinking then because they don't know what I'm doing.
Jumpin Jack Flash isn't wholesome from what people tell me, but I'm not sure why. The way the authors tell it, it's about the difficulty getting out of drugs or something.
As an alternative view on alcohol (and I've stayed out of this in case it didn't go this way) is that drinking alongside in moderation and remaining sober may be a much better witness than abstaining.
Because it shows that self control is possible for a Christian, rather than being captive to sin and overindulgence. Being on the wagon could be taken many ways, but might well make the non-drinker appear 'superior' to the drinker. I understand about the witness side of things, but if you're at a boozy party who outside is going to believe you were sober anyway? And if people can't tell you're different from the person you are when you talk to them, no amount of acting like you're better is going to convince them.
I appreciate this is a complex subject and I've deliberately avoided discussing some of the issues that are key for certain people that have already come up in the thread (like ex-alcoholics).
IIRC Jumpin Jack Flash is another name for Satan.
I tend to agree in concept on the self control. But when there are a lot of Godless people about who are getting drunk, I don't know how drunk they are. The last thing they might remember in their stupor is me with a drink in my hand. Who knows? Maybe they think I was drunk too? But it's a very subjective line and I don't have one rule for every situation.
I don't choose to go to boozy parties myself, but do find business gatherings and parties with friends to have plenty of alcohol just by themselves.
Satan? Really? Yuk. I had also heard that it has a sensual angle. Heck, when I read the lyrics, I don't get it's imagery.
I agree Toni,
Im from australia and a MASSIVE difference in australian culture compared to american culture is the its not usually frowned apon for christians to drink alcohol. NOw in saying that i know there are people in australia that dont drink, and there are christians in america that do drink but thats not my point.
some of the best "witnessing" chats i have had to my mates from my football team etc have been at a party or a pub enjoying a couple of beers. now i didnt need to get drunk to fit in, BUT i enjoy beer and whilst having a beer with them im able to chat about Church and God and ponder how good that the wine Jesus made from water would have actually been...
anyways, the alcohol subject can always be a touchy one,
I have a well stocked bar at home. And enjoy a good cocktail in public.
I don't know what it is about beer, but some of the most important conversations I have had, I have had with a pint in front of me and the other guy.