By Tom Holmes
Following the first weekend of musically blended service at Calvary Church, we asked a few congregation members what they thought:
One middle aged woman, who asked not to be identified and is a longtime member of Calvary, said, in effect, "mission accomplished." Combining the traditional with the contemporary in the inaugural Unify and Glorify format was "a pleasant mixing of the two styles."
"The new unifying factor," she said, "also gave us the opportunity to worship next to people we may not have seen for a while or may not have had the opportunity to meet yet.
"I spoke to a couple of people after the Sunday services to get their opinion," she added. "An older woman who normally attends the traditional service didn't like the guitars but tried to concentrate on the piano accompaniment. She was pleased with how passionately Pastor Todd preached. A 40-year-old woman said things were not so different in the service format since we had started blending parts of the services during the past year, but she loved seeing the different mix of people in each service."
Matt Jones, a 24-year-old software consultant who has been attending Calvary for four years, said, "I do not know if leadership would admit to this, but I think we are still struggling to find our 'musical center.' This is by no means a negative thing, but it does mean that … the next month or so will be adventure — likely with many ups and downs."
Jones' reaction to Unify and Glorify surprised even himself. "Many young, 20-something professionals prefer a musical experience at church that is geared to their specific generational tastes. What that sounds like is beside the point, just know that it is much different than that of Calvary Memorial Church. There are times when I have caught myself longing for just this — a church musical experience that is geared toward my generation. However, what was so striking about Unify and Glorify was that in some strange paradoxical way, the musical experience at Calvary this Sunday was exactly what I had been longing for. I did not walk down Lake Street on Sunday afternoon wishing that Caleb would have included more of my generations' musical elements — in fact, just the opposite. I left with my heart full.
"At the end of the day," he concluded, "I do not think that the type of musical experience matters — as long as it is shared in unity with others in my community. I'm learning that our community is bound together by faith, not by any type of musical experience."