Non-Christians on stage

I had breakfast the with Arts Director of the Romeoville campus of Community Christian Church, and he shared with me a GREAT story from a past weekend service.

As with a lot of us, Greg had a musical life prior to accepting Christ, and played guitar in any number of metal bands (he ROCKS by the way).  Quite a few of Greg’s band mates have since come to Christ, and serve with him in Romeoville.  Recently Greg invited a drummer from a past band to come and play with their CCC band, got him the charts and the music so that he could be ready to play.

Here’s the cool part.  He got a phone call mid-week telling Greg that he couldn’t rehearse the music.  Greg thought that perhaps the recording was bad, or something administrative like that.  The drummer told him that everytime he started to rehearse, he kept getting distracted by the lyrics.  The lyrics seemed to say so much that he felt he had to listen to them instead of rehearsing.  I think that’s awesome!!!

The reason that I think this is “post” worthy, is the risk that Greg took.  He not only ask a non-believer to come and serve “on-stage”, but  this dude had never set foot in Greg’s church.  God blessed that risk.  Not only was Greg’s team energized for the morning, by another skilled musician, but the drummer was blessed as well.  I don’t know whether he’s yet accepted Christ, but by Greg’s description, he’s open to coming back, and that’s promising.

I wonder if we as church leaders aren’t missing a couple of opportunities, when we limit the instrumentalists that serve with us at church to “believers”.  I think we have all been in the situation where we either have to do without an instrument because we don’t have anyone on the team to play, or our “guy” has served 58 consecutive sundays and might be burning out.

Most all of the music directors/worship pastors that I know have a history of some sort, playing in bands, and have quite a few musical contacts in the secular world.  Why not ask them to come hang out and play.  For me, it’s been a great way to re-connect with old friends, and a good way for them to experience God in a new way.  My other church band mates have always welcomed the new guy with open arms, and to a man, the new guy has always come back to help out again, and in many cases eventually accepted Christ.

I in no way endorse a “non-believing” vocalist to be serving on stage unless it is perhaps in a choral setting.  However, I feel when it comes to instrumentalists, we are missing a potential win-win situation for us (increase team depth) and them (a God experience).

I’d be curious to “hear” your thoughts.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Non-Christians on stage

  1. Mmmmm… it’s an interesting point. I am involved in worship in my church and people do discuss the difference between a gifted musician and an anointed one.

    God bless you this day
    Maria in the UK
    http://www.inhishands.co.uk

  2. Greg

    Hey Doug, just a follow up…..the drummer in this story (Rod) showed up this past weekend, just to hang out, and he stayed all morning! Many people (even some not in the band) went up and talked to him and it was great to see him experience community in such a warm way. He commented on the message between services, he was really listening, and was impacted in a personal way. It will (hopefully) be great for the whole congregation watch his transformation as an artist from “gifted” to “anointed” and I can’t wait to watch it as well!

  3. Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ ’bout!!!

    Keep us posted. I’d love to come down and jam with you guys, when he’s “on”.

    d.

  4. I think it is important for us as believers to encourage non-believers to come and participate in worship services. I think it gives them a sense of “I have a place to fit in” should they continue to come. However, we should be very careful who we allow to minister to us. Just as you would not want just anyone to minister in the office of preacher, I don’t think we should discount the position of musician, and allow anyone to serve. We use music to usher in the presence of the Lord. How many non-believer musicians would it take to quench the Spirit? That is not to say that God can not use the non-believer, that is to say, pray and be led of the Lord before you invite people to sit over your congregation. Should it be the will of the Lord for that person to come to salvation that way, To God be the Glory!… if it is not the will of the Lord, then “thanks but no thanks”.

    I know it may sound like I am a bit harsh, but I am very sensitive when it comes to who I would want to minister over me.

    As my pastor always says “Hurt or hurting people, hurt people”… They may not always mean to but they do.

  5. I, on the other hand, am a firm believer in thinking that non-christian musicians can fulfill a vital role in church music.

    Greg, you and I saw this in action for many years at Ginger Creek. Rich Trelease modeled this type of behavior and you kept it going when you got involved with the music. Where would Ginger Creek have been in the early days without Jim Becker, Ron Hilger, Brian Budzik, Brian Serena. Geez, Dennis and Rich’s Juggular buddy, Jim Bromley, came and played with us at Salt company a long time ago. And where was Pete Alvarez’s heart when he first started playing with us. Musicians just have this heart for music and the desire to see it played well. So what if they don’t know Jesus yet. What better way to introduce them to our saviour???

    Kudos to Greg for having the guts to step outside of the status quo and do this!!! Whew Whew!!! I love that man…

  6. I’ve seen it done and turn out well and also not so much. I’m not sure if you can set a standard “policy”. What if a current church attender/member is considered to not be in a good place spiritually(for whatever reason) to be in an up front ministry but then notices that there are non-believers/n0n-attenders on the stage? We must keep in mind that just having them come in the doors on a Sunday is not necessarily ideal. I’ve seen it where musicians will only come to church if they’re playing but don’t want much to do with the community portion of things. Who knows? I’m not going to make a statement that limits how God speaks to someone. I think there needs to be a relationship involved and follow up. Not like a sales call follow up but an effort to invest in another’s life. Then, what if down the road the person decides that church is not their thing but they’d love to keep playing. Do you say ok and let them play or do you say, no thanks, I guess it didn’t work having you in this position. Seems to me to be a case by case situation and possibly touchy. And that’s not even touching on the spiritual/anointing topic. I’m totally unqualified to get into that doctrinally(if it even exists). What better way to introduce them to our savior? Live in their world. Play in their band. Hang out at their house. Don’t make them have to come to ours to meet Jesus.

  7. I’m all for pushing envelopes wherever they are found. For that matter, questioning why they are there at all. Way to go, Greg!

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