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Pssst... Boomers: They're Laughing at You! :: Keith Drury

Have you ever had one of those eerie experiences when people are laughing behind your back-but they won't tell you why? It is embarrassing. Well, I'm sorry to have to report to my fellow boomers that it's happening to us!

I teach the emerging generation, especially in the area of worship. And they are snickering at the way we "contemporary" Boomers do our "up to date" worship. I've been using a simple questionnaire in my classes of the emerging generation-asking "What makes you laugh and snicker about the way most churches do worship?" Get ready for the answers. Here they are:


Top Ten Most Commonly Laughed At

(Listed from most to less frequency)

  1. The greeting time!--shaking hands and saying fake things & giving fake compliments.
  2. Happy songs; always acting happy; no place for sadness or mourning, peppy songs.
  3. A whole stage full of people and instruments
  4. Incessant clapping!
  5. Singing to pre-recorded sound tracks instead of live backup-ugh!
  6. Always frantic-no time for reflection and "down time."
  7. Dumb jokes and wisecracks by the worship leader
  8. Loud bass instruments in the background that never stop
  9. Performance oriented worship leaders
  10. Thinking a keyboard is cool!

Runners Up

(Listed in no particular order but representative of the other comments)

  • A million vocalists on the worship team all singing melody!
  • Singing old hymns to new tunes to make them "cool."
  • Ken and Barbie "Praise Team leaders;" Pretty people, pretty clothes, bright lights
  • Minute by minute schedule-- not open to the Spirit's moving
  • Special music that isn't "special" at all.
  • Irrelevant special music to keep the poor singers happy and tithing
  • Cheesy attempts to end songs like a rock band
  • Singing GenX or our songs in "Boomer style" changing the pace and atmosphere
  • PowerPoint! Ha ha ha ha ha they think they are so cool!~
  • Sit-stand-sit-stand-c'mon make up your mind!
  • Telling us to smile when we worship-telling is anything to do; "turn to your neighbor and say...",
  • Pretty people on stage
  • The song leader who "gets into it too much"
  • Hand motions with songs
  • The also-ran guy who leads worship-he's like a high school band teacher!
  • Cheesy guitar solos
  • Focus on how they are singing instead of what they are singing
  • Clapping on the downbeat
  • Musical praise is too short...3-4 song instead of 6-8-10 songs
  • Elaborate movements on stage; showiness
  • The praise leaders pretending they are at a concert-showing off
  • Always singing a capella after using instruments
  • Telling us to raise our hands when singing-telling us to do things
  • Songs that sound like nothing ever goes wrong
  • Walking around and telling silly jokes on stage
  • Singing as fast as they can
  • Predictability. Every Sunday is the same thing.
  • The tambourine lady ;-)
  • Packing the stage with 30 different instruments
  • Saying the words we are about to sing
  • The leader talking between every song listening to himself on the monitor
  • The praise band with 10 different instruments

So... what comes around goes around. We Boomers laughed at our parent's worship styles. Now our kids come along laughing at how we do worship. So long as we didn't know about it we were just fine. But now that we know...what shall we do? I know one Boomer who wrote "I'm no longer going to chase after new styles of worship." HA! Why not? Because he finally got worship the way he wanted it. But now emerges a newer generation with different tastes. What shall we do? Freeze in our style and tell them to get lost or find another church if that's what they want? Do we try to adapt some of our worship to satisfy their preferences...like some oldsters did when we had our own worship wars? Do we quit calling our Boomer service "contemporary" and admit it is traditional-and start a new service more geared to the emerging generation? Or do we totally renovate our worship styles for them and anger all the Boomer-cum-oldsters in our congregation?

What do you think?

©2004 Keith Drury

Author:Keith Drury

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