I Don't Care

When you are deeply involved in the ministry, you are almost constantly inundated with stories of "church gone wrong". We sing many songs that originated at Hillsong in Australia, and many other songs that are the products of "the industry", songs that have that "Nashville" sound. It seems that at least a few times every year, I hear another "concerned" person trying to convince me that Hillsong or Nashville only cares about the money.

I think I've finally come to my conclusion on this whole matter. I think I have an answer now, when people ask me how I can sing this song, or quote that preacher, or talk favorably about another ministry. It isn't the answer you'd expect, unless you read the title of this post.

You see, what I'm trying to say is, I DON'T CARE!

I don't care what you heard about how rude Nashville people can be, or how their motives are all wrong, or anything else. I don't care what happened with the Hillsong Church, how much money they make on their music, or how shallow their preaching is. For now, I am done with the big picture.

I have one concern when it comes to corporate worship music, and that is the people that God has given me to lead in worship. If a song reaches them where they are at, or inspires them to reach out to others, it was probably written by someone who has that same heart. Even if it wasn't, it is still good and useful for my goals, which are to lead people to find healing and bring healing to others.

This is life; to be the cure for the sickness, the light in the darkness. This is what matters, and from now on it doesn't matter how that happens. I may end up in a church with a money tree out front, pastored by a man with a yacht, and it won't matter as long as healing and hope abound. I could be at a church where the preacher is a political nut, and I may have to run sound for a townhall meeting filled with angry senior citizens, but it won't matter, as long as the Kingdom is at hand.

9 comments:

Tara said...

Good thoughts Richard. Keep 'not caring' about what people say about Hillsong, because it's not true. And I'm sick of it too. Way to focus on what your purpose is!

leanna marie jackson said...

i live in nashville and i'm rude.
dangit.

The Thinking Theologian said...

Actually, Tara, I'm afraid that quite a lot of what they say about Hillsong is true.

I understand the point this post tries to make, however. And it echoes Paul's own point of view in his correspondence with the Phillipian church (Philipians 1: 15-18).

As long as the gospel is preached, what does all this other stuff matter?

But this is the point: AS LONG AS THE GOSPEL IS PREACHED!

In Paul's other writings he warns of a "different gospel". Shouldn't we care whether or not it is the TRUE gospel that is being preached?

Richard said...

Thinking Theologian, I think you actually get my point, although perhaps part of you wants to venture in to the Hillsong debate, and I'd have to tell you that I, honestly, don't care.

You (and Paul) say "as long as the gospel is preached"... and what is the Gospel besides Christ, and what was Christ's purpose if not to be good news to the poor (open our eyes/to see the things that make Your heart cry/to be the church that you would desire/your light to be seen... from "With Everything"), to bind up the broken hearted (heal my heart and make it clean "Hosanna"), to take our lives and align them with the purpose of God by His blood and by His love (My purpose found in You alone/to love the lost and bring them home/for we were made to glorify our King/I won't stop believing/You alone are, You alone are God/in You there's freedom/Your love brings me to my knees again/I'm gonna bring an anthem of love/I'm gonna live for you... from "Perfect Love").

And what is the exhortation the Word demands, if not to sing as one that "The time has come to stand for all we believe in, so I for one am gonna give my praise to You, Jesus"? What is boldness, if not the heart crying out "I'm not ashamed of the Gospel, Lord (for it is the light of salvation to those who believe in Christ)"?

All of these lyrics are sung in songs that originated at Hillsong church, and as I lead my family, my community, in worship, all I care about is that we are singing out songs that honor and praise our God, songs that inspire us to further action and spur us on toward greater love.

People are gonna talk mess about big churches out of naivety, jealousy, envy, or whatever, and it isn't up to me to prove or disprove them. It is up to me to love those around me, and that's the point. I have decided not to care about anything else.

Tara said...

Sir (Thinking Theologian),

How do you know a lot of what "they" say is true? Have you done your own research on Hillsong? If so, where did your research come from? I hope not Youtube.

I spent a year last year studying at Hillsong College and I got to be part of the church. Let me tell you, it is NOT all about the money. The people running that church are humble people, passionate about spreading the Gospel. The musicians didn't ask for this. They didn't go out and try to become this great worship team that travels around the world and makes money. No, actually, they were a couple of youth kids who wrote their own worship songs for their church and God decided to have them share it with the rest of the world. They were obedient. Before we look at the spec in others' eye, we should take out the plank in our own.

I will tell you, I have never seen a more passionate church following God's call to share the Gospel. And it is the TRUE gospel. Please, I ask that you would have an open mind about Hillsong and find the positive in them. We can ALWAYS find negative in every man-run church, corporation, business, etc. There will always be flaws. I encourage you to watch a sermon from Brian Houston sometime and look at him through God's eyes.. I guarantee you will see the positive side.

Thanks for your time,

Tara

P.S. Richard has a good point- "What is the Gospel besides Christ"

The Thinking Theologian said...

Tara,

I was a member of Hillsong for 7 years, and was on full-time staff there for 5.

http://thethinkingtheologian.blogspot.com

The Thinking Theologian said...

P.S. Please have a look at 2 Corinthians, particularly chapter 11, where Paul talks about a different gospel, and a different Jesus.

We need to be aware that there are things out there masquerading as the real thing, but at their heart they are false and therefore harmful.

Richard said...

I'm sorry Tara, but I've got to say this...

The only thing that either of you have proven by your time at Hillsong is the strength of the effect of personal experience on our perceptions.

Thinking dude, you say you were on staff for five years, and your post posits a ridiculous amount of speculation as to the purposes of Hillsong, which leads me to believe that you have some sort of personal pain associated with them. While I am not saying that pain is invalid, I do believe that it polarizes your view drastically.

You talk about politics, so you surely know that the most promising potential extremists are the broken, the hurting, the ones who feel as if they've been abandoned or targeted. This can be used for the good or the bad, and you certainly seem to be intent on tearing down rather than building up, which I believe indicates which of those two you more closely resemble.

Tara, you had a wonderful experience there, and you have seen the amazing things that can happen at a "multi-site megachurch" for most of your life, and that is amazing. The connections you made and friends you loved at Hillsong still resonate in your life today. However, all of that also polarizes your view, to the intensely positive rather than Thinking's intense negativity.

However, you make a good point when you say that we will find things wrong in every man-run organization, and I don't think that the Theologian has quite the same grasp on the possibility of his inaccuracy. It is a sad fact that pain is a more intense influence than pleasure and happiness.

As for the "false gospel", did you even read the verses I used, Thinker? They are biblical, singing out a call to live the exact words Jesus spoke. You've got to stop being blinded to the fact that you're polarized, and that your subjectivity has been compromised.

And now I will come back to my original point... I don't care which one of you is right or wrong! I have seen these songs being sung in a church where the lives of my friends were being visibly transformed, and in a church that recently saw 4000 people give the shoes off of their feet to the homeless, and thousands more join a 3 day fast to become more in tune with the plight of "the least of these".

I've also seen these songs sung at churches where a pastor creates his own personal kingdom, rather than the Kingdom of God. I've heard them sung by people who would later get pregnant out of wedlock, or denounce Christ entirely.

The songs, in and of themselves, are nothing without the actions around them. I don't care where Hillsong puts churches, or what kind of car Brian Houston drives. All I care about is that Christ is glorified among those I lead, and if these songs inspire and teach the kind of life Jesus would have us live, then I will use them happily.

And one final note... Theologian, your blog seems to have one singular focus. It seems you have devoted a lot of energy to "exposing" Hillsong church. Why all this energy to tear down? If people are reached or inspired, who are you to say by whom it is done? Shouldn't the most successful churches be allowed to propagate throughout the world in order to reach more people?

Why are you so angry?

Tara said...

Thinking Theologian,

I apologize for my quick assumption. I'd like to hear what caused you to become so against Hillsong after being a member for so long.

Richard, thanks for your great response. Very well thought out. And Richard made a good point.. it seems you put a load of energy into "exposing" Hillsong... but this only feeds negativity into your life, as well as, others. I'd like to see you write about something you're passionate about in a positive way. Why waste all your time focusing on this? In the end, it really is a waste of time and energy. Christians have become so well known about what we're against rather than what we're for. ... I'd like to see more of us living for what Jesus called to... that is, looking after the widows and orphans... loving the least of these.