So The Chapels first year is drawing to a close.
Our last Chapel meeting is on Sunday night, we will have a summers break and then we will hit the ground at a full sprint on September 5th. It will be a real brain bender as we mix up pioneering a new site for Christ Church Manchester (CCM:City), club nights, open mic events, and any other show we can think of.
Looking back over the last 9 to 12 months, so much stuff has happened and so much of it was totally unpredictable. So I cannot wait to see where we are in May 2011…
Anyhoo, watch this and be grateful that my music taste is better than yours (warning this video involves a penguin with a saxophone and a baby seal being hit with a blunt instrument) –
Something that I wanted to get out of The Crypt was some inspiration.
We have a few very talented Muso’s and worship leaders at The Chapel and I really wanted them to see the possibilities and opportunities that a gifted DJ could present.
I have a bee in my bonnet about the music genres used in worship. I think sometimes we miss massive mission opportunities by not using different styles of music. It is easy for me to say that but I have never managed to actually put my money where my mouth is. I am desperate to see Drum & Bass, Dance, House, Hip-Hop, Dub and Dubstep used in a conventional worship service. Lets not forget the need for some proper rock, punk, metal and indie. Not to mention the need for some gospel, funk and dance hall. I want to see Worship leaders and musicians who love to innovate musically and love to allow the spirit to lead the worship time.
Anyways, at The Crypt I annoyed my musicians all evening by pointing out how good the DJ was, and how easy this Music is to worship too.
My hope is that the culture we create at The Chapel will spill over into CCM:City.
There was a point on Sunday night, around the time when I was wondering if my spleen had been moved by the relentless bass assault, when something unexpected happen.
I say unexpected because I go into these sort of ventures either having no expectations or expecting disaster (I am a “glass half empty and may be used as a weapon against me” kinda guy). Anyways, the unexpected thing was that people started wandering in off the street and dancing. That’s right people, DANCING! I double took.
Thankfully B+ (the DJ) is way cooler than me. He took it in his stride, barely blinked and started taking requests.
So this raised a question in my head. These guys have wandered unwittingly into a church organised event. How do I get them to understand who we are, what and why we are doing this? Short of just wandering up to people and blubbering something incoherent about “being saved by the blood of the lamb” and scaring them off I came up with nothing.
Having said that, one of The Chapels more gregarious girls just wandered up to one couple introduced herself, got talking and then invited them to church. They agreed to come along and were blown away that a church would run a free club night.
A tiny piece of culture and community was created at The Crypt.
God loves Dubstep.
I always want to learn something. I have made it a rule to assume that nothing works like you think it will first time. Therefore, you have to learn, adjust and improve. If you think you can no longer improve some thing it probably means a) It sucks, or b) you suck.
The Crypt was our first run at a club night and because I am a bit miserable, and a touch faithless, I expected failure.
Thankfully God doesn’t like to beat me round the head for sport and we had a cracking night.
Bplus (the DJ) was fantastic. Honestly, there were points when I thought my spleen was going to jump out my throat because the bass lines were so vast and….well…..bassy!
We had a bunch of people from The Chapel turn up and we had a whole bunch of people just walk in off the street.
I will blog this week about the different things I learnt. I think with a few adjustments we could really be on to something.
It is, without doubt, going to be a weekend.
Lets get the excuses in early – If all we achieve at The Crypt is getting a DJ in a room and then being able to successfully plug him in then I will be pleased. If we actually get some people to show up I will be very pleased.
On Monday I will let you know how we got on.
Why do we want to do this? I am praying for a few different outcomes from this club night and future events.
- I want community to be built – So people show up, bring their mates and have some fun.
- I want mission – So people bring their mates. Their mates can ask them “Why is a church running a club night?”. In the future I want to serve Manchester’s creative scene by having Non-Christian DJs and performers.
- I want to create culture – This is a longer term dream but I want the church to support and create culture in Manchester.
- Innovation in worship – The Crypt is not a worship events (its a party) but I want to start planting the idea in peoples heads that the churches corporate worship can be a place of musical innovation and can use genres that aren’t usually found in a Sunday meeting.
Lets be clear, this could all fall on its face. I have no experience in running club nights, promotion or really much experience in church planting and church leadership! So I have no clue as to how this is all going to work. What I do know is that I want people who wouldn’t be see dead in church (even in a crypt?) to find Jesus.
Once again, I am wide eyed and clueless.
Running The Chapel has thrown a number of very talented people in our direction. It seems that every week I get to meet someone who does or can do something very cool.
So today I hung out with a drummer. A very good drummer.
We spent a bunch of time talking about music as we both have similar taste. Anyways, he helped me clarify a little bit more what I want The Chapel to be about. I want Christian musicians to be in bands with Non-Christians, because they love music and because the love mission. The Chapel could help support them in what they do by organizing gigs, publicizing there work and hopefully putting them in front of people. Also, and most importantly, we can support them. We can help them to live Godly lives whilst playing Punk, Death Metal, Jazz, Drum & Bass, R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop or (God forbid) Acid Jazz.
A Christian artist creating culture in a Non Christian scene could and should be very influential and incredibly missional.
So drummer dude, if you read this, go join/start that band. You will be a missionary.
Today has been a sermon prep day. This has been greatly helped by these guys –
To put this band into context, here is what they normally sound like –
I have always wanted to be part of a church that creates culture. I often hear people talking about how the church needs to influence culture, but the way to do this often appears to be a little unclear (at least it does to me).
I was chatting to a Chapel attendee the other week and she told me that she worked in Radio. She expressed frustration that the only way church told her to influence culture was by having Non-Christian friends at her work place. She wanted more than this and wanted to know how she could create and produce culture that would be influential. She got my brain whirring.
I want the church (not just the leaders but the whole community) to create and support culture. I want to see Christian artists, musicians, designers, and whoever creating work that is meant to be consumed by the world at large. I also want to see the church producing forums and settings where secular artists can be supported. I don’t want Christian culture I just want culture.
Our first baby step towards this is The Crypt
Why do we want to do this? Because Community thrives on Culture and quality Culture creates Community. At least, I hope so!
The Chapel and CCM:City do there first club night.
On Sunday 23rd May, after The Chapel, we will go down the stairs at Baa Bar to a room with an LED wall and we shall party. Why? Because we want too. Simple.
Bring your friends, we promise not to church-up proceedings. There will be tunes and a bar. Nothing else.
The bleeps, peeps, beats and joy shall commence sometime after 8pm and finish when the DJ says so….