Through the Neutral Zone

When I went to Mainstreet, the church had been on a steady decline for several years, going from 330 people to 220. The worship service was so structured that if you went in at 11:10 any time of the year, they would be doing the same thing. If they did the responsive reading at 11:10, that’s where they did it every Sunday. The preacher quit at 11:30 whether he was done or not.

The power brokers of the church were members of the fully-robed choir. They marched in and sang the anthem

Then I showed up. My first Sunday, in 1993, I told them I wanted to begin the service with the song “Majesty.” “You’ll march in from the back, through the double doors, and charge forward like you’re capturing the mountain. And I want you to sing.”

They groused about it, but they complied. Because the new guy said so.

They had been doing things one way. I took them into the neutral zone. But what I wanted was to get to the point where we didn’t have a choir at all. That’s not something you pull off overnight. But in time, we got there.

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