I had already gone through ‘the pain’ of worship events even before I turned up on my Oasis Frontline gap year.
My home church had a band, it had a ‘cool’ youth pastor with ‘cool’ ish hair who did ‘cool’ assemblies, the thought arose to have a ‘Friday night’ worship event service thingy, we’ll call it something edgy like ‘Powerhouse’ , we’ll put posters up everywhere, ill tell friends in school, it’ll be the loudest, best, edgiest, worship service in town and hundreds of people will turn up.
It was great. It was fun, It was well put together, it was a lot of work, the music was amazing, and as a teenager I loved it. As did the 25 others who regularly came along to this ‘thing’.
And boy did they do some great songs, at the time, I mean, mostly ‘cutting edge’ (pre Delirious days) and Kevin Prosch stuff.. (look him up on you tube..)
‘Powerhouse’ lasted about 18 months, if that.
And I event went to ‘events’ in other church halls in villages around Leicestershire that were billed as ‘for young people’ and all the lights – and we were the only youth group that turned up, as visitors, alot of work for 8 ‘already going to a different youth group’ young people.
Yet I confess.
I confess to forgetting all of this, and thinking that If I did something similar in a different town as ‘An OASIS person’ – and with the very well known Steve Chalke, things would be very different.
By then even Delirious had popularised better songs, and I could play Capo 5 Em Chord and kick it all off with ‘History Maker’ , and we could all go deeper…
We were well advanced at trying to make the mountains tremble, oh no.. we were being history makers. That Capo on the 5th fret was going to make all the difference, especially on my nice sounded Takamine Guitar in a big venue with the band, a band that had at least one future member of YFRIDAY in it (not that we knew it then)
What venue will hold all the possible people in all the churches in the town – yes lets book that one
What amount of kit shall we take – and lets include pushing a sofa half way through the town as a publicity stunt so that ‘WE CAN INTERVIEW STEVE CHALK SITTING DOWN’ – because thats what will …will do something, and include having to carry a sofa up two flights of stairs, and this would take all afternoon to do, and then take it back that evening if I remember rightly… oh man.. why..
And lets make sure all the churches know about it
And Steve, yes Steve Chalke is off the telly and he’s a big name and people will want to hear him
And we were the Oasis team (s) and we have enthusiasm and passion and big smiles and people love us and we can play that Capo 5 Em chord from which the whole of history in the small town of Hartlepool will be so different as we do this thing and make things happen and it will be glorious and there’ll be revival and we need to train a prayer ministry team just in case and and and and…….
That first chord was amazing. Lights amazing. It was probably one of my most comfortable times on a stage, with a guitar.
And not just any guitar, it was my lovely Takamine Guitar, sounded amazing, and we did a great interview with Steve and it was a night which was a well put together event that was good experience for us all.
But it was what it was, and… we had to turn everything down, because that big hall (the FE college assembly room) for 400 people, had just about 40 in it at best.
It had alot of good things about it, but history making inducing it probably wasnt….
And I soon forgot this, only to try something again less than a year later, and that one was much much more painful. That one ended up being my last ever ‘on stage’ event thing, as a kind of ‘worship night’ style thing.
That second one was poorly organised, rehearsed and a shambles really, biting off far more than I could chew on my own, and included getting the fire brigade out as the cardboard that covered the stainless windows to make the church look even darker fell down in the night before , thus setting off the burglar alarm. There was no order, programme or practice. And I stood on the stage making things up as we went along, and people had ‘actually travelled’ and it bombed.
So, this confession is something about how I had got taken up by a false sense of possibility, a false sense of what a ‘trendy/contemporary/edgy even ‘ worship event could actually do, and the part I had in them, a part that kept trying to make them bigger, louder and more complicated. Yet I also see now how the push from many corners to be ‘the revival generation’ and use worship songs as mission was all around, it was part of the 1990’s evangelical subculture that I identified with, I mean why not have Soul Survivor in the north…. and there was one, it was called Harvest, and it ran for 20 odd years.
Confessions of a young youth minister number 4 is about not just those worship events, my attachment to them at the time, and also how I must have been a nightmare to be around in the preceding weeks. I know these things aren’t about ‘numbers’ – but I think I’d wrapped up a chuck of my identity in this way of doing things, and so maybe, actually, having that bubble burst early wasn’t a bad thing, but it was painful.
They were good for a number of things, but revival inducing? nah.
Were we history makers…. probably… but did we need a song sung loud with a capo on the fifth fret to know it… probably not. We ended up more like kinds of fools to be honest. But it was the 1990’s….