I had been in Manchester for about a month and Raj insisted we go Clubbing. I was 32, going grey, father of 2 kids and I worked for a church. The last place I should be was a nightclub. The club we went to has a certain reputation for niche dance music and drugs. Lots of drugs. Nobody drank beer, everybody took drugs. We left my house at 11pm on friday and got home at 8am on Saturday. The next day I was due to preach at CCM for the first time.
I grew up listening to Punk and rock, I have never been a huge fan of dance or electronica. Although in recent years this has changed and I listen to more electronica than rock. So why go clubbing?
In Manchester if a DJ, club, band, writer or artist does well then the national press take note. This city loves to party, it loves to create and it loves to watch others create. So I thought I maybe able to learn something about Manchester from its nightclubs.
A nightclub is like most of other nightclubs. If you don’t get abused by the bouncer and your feet don’t stick to the floor then you have had a good night. However my night out with Raj dropped a few seeds in my mind. Would any of the hundreds of the people in this club go to church? If they did what would they think of it? Would they want to sit and listen to someone preach? Would they want to hear a guy strum an acoustic guitar? Were Raj and myself the only Christians in the place?
The next question I asked myself was whether church should be entertaining. Attractional church gets a bad press at the moment. Church planting types want to hammer you with the community card. Well in the middle of that club, over three floors with hundreds of strangers I felt part of a community. We all had a collective hope. We wanted to party. Does community have to be 12 people sitting in someones house? I hope not.
After struggling with my church planting ideology for a while I realised that I am a pragmatist. I just decided that I wanted people to hear about Jesus and that if the music was a way of getting more people to hear about him then it must be worth a try. Fundamentally I want Non-Christians, God haters, the broken and the lost in the room when we worship Jesus and I want them to be surprised.
Since we have started experimenting with creativity (and noise!) a number of people have expressed how excited they are about bringing there non-christian friends along. We are in the very early stages but that has to be a win, right?
Pray for us, pray for Manchester, pray God saves some people.
We have run monthly Open Mics after CCM:City for about 18 months. To start with I organised them and they were rubbish. Seriously, 5 people in a room listening to some skinny white indie-kid play Switchfoot or John Mayer. Nasty.
Then Jonny joined our church and boom. 80 people a night, tons of talented musos, stacks of Non-Christians and one very very happy Tim.
Have a butchers –
Our hope is that the music that we worship God too will be missional. We want people who don’t know Jesus to see and hear us worship and to be able to identify with what is going on. Also, I want our worship leaders and musicians to feel very free to be creative. I don’t want them to feel in the slightest bit restricted by my personal taste or by any expectation of what worship music should sound like.
I want our corporate worship to be Jesus focussed, Spirit powered and God inspired. After that I want creativity that makes God smile and that Non-Christians will be surprised by.
Anyways, Mike Bradley has finished another song. Fancy a listen? Of course you do –
Your Love Never Fails is by Jesus Culture.
Hopefully in a few weeks I will be able to post a version of Jesus saves which is probably the best song we have done so far. No pressure Mike. No pressure.
So we are on a journey at CCM at the moment. The guys at CCM:City are experimenting with dance music in our worship times. We are privileged to have some very talented musicians who are passionate about worship.
I have banged on about worship music being missional for ages in the hope that a few people would join us who A) agreed and B) were talented enough to make it happen. Prays answered. Thanks boss.
Manchester has more nightclubs than people, dance music rules in this city. To not at least try and incorporate dance music into our worship would be a colossal oversight.
So we have a track that we want to put out there. We have used it on a Sunday a few times and it works (pretty much). We are working hard on increasing the flexibility of the music so that we can go wherever God takes us as we worship. We are not quite there yet. What you will hear is a backing track that we make our drummer play along to (he is awesome) and the worship leader adds some elec guitar. We think that we can soon fire the drummer and just have a guy on a laptop.
Anyhoo, we remixed consuming fire by Tim Hughes. We slowed it down a little. We threw in some beats. We ran it over with a lorry and then we got R2D2 on lead vocals.
Have a listen –