November 8, 2007
Church of Rock
Where can you hear live music? Try a megachurch.
The New York Times shows a healthy respect for its readers' interest in church rock by posting an 8-minute documentary on "The Worship Rock Scene."
Why? Because megachurch bands "now provide one of the major ways that Americans hear live music." The video also points out that churches can be a steady gig for bands in places where they would otherwise have few performances.
High Desert Church in Reno, whose bands the NYT focuses on, has nine rotating bands for three age groups: 18 ? 30, 30 ? 55, and "the classic community" ? those who are 55 and over and, presumably, partial to West-Coast folk rock.
"Each band is carefully calibrated toward the pop culture disposition of each age group," reports Jigar Mehta.
"We have to communicate the gospel in a way that is entertaining so we can tell them the story," says Jeff Crandall, the church's music director and former drummer for the Altar Boys (for a flashback to the '80s, go to minute 5:15).
Steve Wilber, who leads Harbor, the 30 ? 55 worship service, explains that he chooses the music and keeps it up-to-date so that the transition from secular to church music styles isn't jarring.
The video and the accompanying article, while premised on music, linger on prayers. Almost a full minute of the video is footage of the 18-30 band in pre-service prayer.
Dressed in a faded black T-shirt, jeans and skateboard sneakers, [Mike Day] bent his shaved head. "God," he said, "I hope these songs we sing will be much more than the music. I know it's so difficult at times when we're thinking about chords and lyrics and when to hit the right effect patch, but would you just help that to become second nature, so that we can truly worship you from our hearts?"