Death to the Church Green Room

When North Side broke ground on our worship center, I was our College and Missions Pastor.  In the middle the building’s completion, my job and responsibilities changed as I became the Worship Pastor.  I suddenly began attending meetings with architects, designers, and engineers.  Coming into the discussions late into the process, I often had questions or suggestions as I thought through the future of our church.

 

One building concept was a strange addition to the plan: the church green room.

I had always thought of a green room as a place where the entertainers were protected from the audience in order to provide the best performance possible.  So, why would a church need a green room?

  • The worship team is not a group of entertainers.
  • Those in attendance are not the audience.
  • The goal of worship should not be performance.

So, what would the existence of a green room accomplish?

I was told by architectural experts that many churches our size had a green room where the pastor and the band could prepare and hang out while it wasn’t their time on stage.  If the church is really large, the pastor has one room and the band has another.  So while the band is playing (entertaining, performing, leading worship, whichever description fits best), the pastor is in his green room looking over his message and nibbling on some snacks.  While the pastor is speaking (preaching, talking, entertaining, whichever description fits best), the band is hanging out talking about how the last set went while drinking some caffeine-induced beverages to ensure the upcoming last song will be killer.

While I didn’t buy into all the intricacies of the concept, I did understand the need concerning having a set place to gather, discuss, and pray before the service.  Since the space was available and had an intended purpose, I didn’t make too much of a deal concerning it.

Once we started using the worship center, I noticed something.

Anytime anyone would speak on stage or off stage regarding a meeting in “the green room,” I would cringe.

It literally would make me feel sick on my stomach.  A green room implied that there was some type of separation between the leaders and the congregants.  It implied that a select group needed to be protected from such distractions as people with real needs.  It made me feel like we were just here to perform a task on a stage devoid of relationships with people.

I started using terms such as the “yellow room” (because it actually is painted yellow instead of green).  My most common phrase would be the “Connect room” since we had membership classes in there for years.  I just struggle with calling it the green room.

You might be thinking I am making too big a deal of this, but I am fiercely opposed to inheriting the behaviors of the world within the church.

It is always a tragedy when the people of God learn how to worship God from those who do not know God.

The Bible warns about learning worship practices from the world.

  • God would not allow Nadab and Abihu to offer “strange fire” upon the altar because it was a practice not encouraged in Scripture (Lev. 10:1).
  • God was angry enough to kill Uzzah (2 Sam. 6:7) when he practiced caring for the things of God in the same manner which he learned from the pagan Philistines (1 Sam. 6:8).
  • Jesus would quote Isaiah (Is. 29:13) by warning against worshiping according to what we learn from man rather than what is commanded by God (Mark 7:7).

While the concept of a green room is not as severe, it is a symptom of a larger problem: we are too prone to adopt the principles of this world than we are to obey the commands of Scripture.

The Church is often too prone to adopt the principles of this world than we are to obey the commands of Scripture.

We do meet in “the room formerly known as the green room.”  I am honestly trying to think of a new name.  Maybe we could call it Room 1151 (after Psalm 115:1).  Or how about 333 (Ps. 33:3)?  Maybe 9411 (Ps. 94:11).  Or how about Room 84 (Psalm 8:4)?

Who knows what we will call it, but it is more important what we do in it as a team.

  • We do have some coffee and breakfast snacks for those who get there so early to prepare to lead in worship.
  • We do meet in there before the first service to walk through the service with all those involved.
  • We do pray for one another and for those in the service every week.
  • All team members sit out in the service (We do allow with multiple services the ability to sit in there or another place for one service as long as they are present in the auditorium with Bibles open and notes being taken in the other service.  That is a rule we enforce – though we have never had to remind anyone).
  • And then, unless we have something we need to communicate with someone else concerning preparation, I am encouraging that we get out of that room and into the auditorium where the other worshipers are.

I would prefer a band member to be late on stage because he or she was ministering to someone than the whole team locked away in isolation from the rest of the church.  We can churn out everyone’s favorite worship songs like you hear them on the radio and lose our effectiveness because we are not engaged with those who we are leading.  Prepared and polished is not the goal of our worship.  We want to do things in a spirit of excellence (Ps. 33:3), but we desire to have solid relationships with people even more (Gal. 6:10).

Pastors and leaders are called shepherds in the church.  We are to care and nurture the shepherd the flock around us (1 Pet. 5:2).

To be classified as a shepherd, you have to be around sheep.

On Sundays, I make rounds.  I walk around the auditorium.  I head out to the commons area.  I look for visitors to greet.  I find people who are hurting and offer hugs and prayers.  I try to go and find those struggling and check on situations.  And you know what I have found?  It doesn’t distract me from worship leading, but it provides me greater focus and intensity.

Ministering to people off the stage allows me to be a more effective minister when I am on the stage.

I don’t want to lead the church based off the world’s wisdom when I have the Word’s truth in front of me.

  • I want to share my life with this church because I love them so much (1 Thess. 2:8).
  • As a pastor, I am called to be hospitable in my home and in the church house (1 Tim. 3:3).
  • I want to be able to teach in public and in house to house (Acts 20:20) showing that there are relationships that should be built.
  • I want to embrace this priesthood of believers (1 Pet. 2:9).
  • I want to fight against an air of spiritual superiority (1 Cor. 4:7).
  • I want to be together with this church and have all things in common (Acts 2:44).
  • I want Jesus’ prayer over us to be true – that we would be one (John 17:21)!

Death to the church green room.  There is no room for celebrities among us.

I encourage every leader in every church to examine your practices which oftentimes reveal our hearts.

Let us lead with the wisdom of the Word rather than the practices of the world.

54 thoughts on “Death to the Church Green Room”

  1. Bernice Sullivan

    If it’s green, please teach children respect for life. Start with a seed or a bulb. Show how it grows when nurtured. Teach about diversity with different varieties or produce. Teach about the seasons of life: birth, child, adult, elderly, special needs, etc. Teach moderation: too much fertilizer. So much can be related to that seed and “the room to be green.”

  2. I’ve been praying for our “entertainment” tide to turn and for true community to begin again. Fir the broken and wounded people and families to be front and center for true love and ministry. For music to be an extension of shepherding the lambs to the father’s heart.

  3. Adam Crossley

    I see you heart in this. But to be honest, the whole premise is a pretty shallow understanding of green rooms, church service programming, and incarnational ministry.

    Even if there is zero entertainment value in a church service, musicians still have to play instruments, speakers still have to deliver presentations, etc. These are all tasks that require skills and more importantly focus. No expert on public speaking or musical performance (as in playing on stage in a live setting. simmer down) would recommend spending time with the audience in the moments leading up to a service. And I assume we can all agree that doing a good job is the goal. Right? These people need a place to prepare and be with each other.

    Also, I can’t imagine judging my church leaders by how much time they spend with me on Sunday mornings. a) we’re talking about a couple of hours here. Do you expect them to also have alone time with their families? To study? To shower? To poop? b) There are 6 other days that a church leader can be with his flock – arguably six better days.

    Lastly, as someone who has spent years of my life working in church programming I can say that some of my riches experiences came from the relationships I built with other leaders and presenters in a green room. We built a dang good community, and there are lots of outsiders who benefited.

    I know it feels pretty righteous to speak condescendingly about how other churches conduct their services. I do it too. And I know green rooms are an easy target. But it’s pretty presumptuous to make blanket statements about how they are bad. I don’t think your intent was to judge, but you have to understand that when you write an article like this it’s no different than saying “I do this better / holier than everyone else” Are you okay with that? Are you really sure you are doing this better than everyone else?

    I’m for relationships, shepherding, the ministry of the holy spirit, and…green rooms. I promise that’s possible.

    1. I hate that you think it is shallow, but this is a testimony of how God’s Word is changing my perspective on how to pastor. I used to be unprepared coming to church and needing that extra quiet time to prepare. I have tried to discipline myself to be ready in season and out of season (2 Tim. 4:2) whether I am preaching the Word or singing the Word. It allows me to be available when I am there. If I appeared “holier than thou,” that was not my intention. This post was written for our church, and for whatever reason, you are reading it. The culture of separation in Church is impacting many churches in a negative way. If that is not your situation, then you don’t need to worry about it, but I don’t think you can just throw a blanket statement and say this is shallow. The couple of hours to spend with their flock is unique because the majority are there versus the other times when you mentioned.

  4. Okay. This has got to be the most ignorant explanation of a subject I’ve heard. – Please educate yourself more before throwing so many “blanket-statements” in a blog about praise & worship ministries, pastors and their motives.

    I’ve been in the pro audio industry 12 years, working at a large church the last two. The worship team and pastoral staff here are some of the most humble, dedicated and serving people I have ever known. On and off stage.

    If you want to have a discussion on how to operate more effectively, don’t hesitate to message me.

    Cheers-

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Let me challenge you on one thing though. Saying this is the “most ignorant explanation” means that I have no awareness or knowledge of what I am talking about. I have been working on a church staff for a long time. I am glad you have worked in the pro audio industry for 12 years, I have worked in pastoral ministry for 12 years, and I am seeing a rising disconnect in many congregations. I never said your staff wasn’t humble and dedicated. They probably are great! I used Scripture to challenge current processes today, you challenged my post by saying it was ignorant – we need something more substantial. If this isn’t a problem in your congregation, then there is nothing to worry about. Pray your church continues to grow in every way possible!

      1. I appreciate your reply.

        I think the title of your post was the most irritating. I saw people sharing this on Facebook, when they may never know the reasons for “technically” being prepared, as well as “spiritually”.

        It wasn’t an individual going to my particular church, however, there are many great churches in the area, and it saddens me to see people go on a rant (after merely reading your title possibly), that can affect the way a church grows or thinks about places that indeed HAVE a green room. I think there is already such a lack of technical professionalism in many churches that ends up crippling them in the long run.

        So, yes; “Death to the green room” was a terrible blanket statement, and I believe can hurt those that don’t know better.

        1. I understand that. I never desire someone to use this as ammunition on another church, but I pray that it causes anyone reading it to do some self-reflection. For the record – green rooms aren’t evil. They can be a symptom of a larger problem. You and I probably agree more than we disagree.

  5. Thank you for giving me something to pray on and challenge our team. We have a green room, we also have 4 services and multiple bands so it is a common meeting place and where we regroup between services. As the worship teacher/leader I have challenged the bands to attend at least one service, spend one out in the atrium and the other two feeding into one another or another ministry when they aren’t in the stage. But too often it becomes a hideaway to tell old band stories, eat and socialize. I was convicted in areas I need to grow on this on a personal level and now as I leader have some things to take to our team. Thanks!

    1. That is awesome to hear, Natalie. I think just your desire to continue to grow your team will allow you to disciple them and push them continually.

  6. Our Green Room helps me serve our people better every Sunday!

    We have 3 back to back to back services every Sunday.

    Preaching 3 coherent, accurate, practical and passionate messages every Sunday, for me, is a spiritual, emotional and physical challenge.

    Having a room, that’s apparently green to sit in for a moment, collect my thoughts, improve my message, grab a coffee or have a brief conversation with a band member is great. If you’ve ever pastored and tried to simply use the urinal without having a counseling session begin, it can be a challenge. I welcome a moment of privacy and a place to gather my thoughts during those days.

    In addition, our band, sound and production teams are literally at church from 6am-1:30pm every Sunday. They have spouses, children, responsibilities, etc and (from my perspective) providing a bit of food, cup of coffee or just a moment of quiet to recharge is a privilege for our church and allows them to serve to the best of their ability.

    To all pastors out there – please don’t let the color of a room determine the color of your heart, our doesn’t!

    1. Great word, Pastor B. Thankful for your dedication to preaching. This post is concerning how we are changing things here. I understand your conviction fully. My first week of ministry, another minister on staff told me, “Ministry is all about how to handle the interruptions.” I have felt the pull in that direction over the years and it is a difficult balance that even Jesus dealt with himself (Matt. 14:12-14). I pray as you continue to minister to people on and off the stage – blessings!

  7. Adam Crossley

    Saying this is “what god is doing in changing your perspective” is a trump card. Of course I’m not going to argue with God. I just don’t think he agrees with you on this.

    Sorry for using the word “shallow” that was harsh. A better word would have been “assuming” since the post implies a lot about churches with green rooms without siting any credible date to support the implications.

    I’m not talking about using green rooms to prepare. That would be irresponsible.

    Do you have any research on “the separation in the church”? I’m not assuming you don’t. It just sounds like heresy or something a person would say just to support an argument. And my experience is quite the opposite.

    Do you think a person’s ministry is most effective by spending as much time as possible with the masses? I don’t. And neither did Jesus (haha a trump card)

    1. Let me clarify on that. Thanks for calling me out on that. I am not a big fan of “God told me this.” God’s Word is challenging me on how to pastor. He is impacting the way I think about shepherding, hospitality, fellowship, breaking bread, etc. It is changing every hour of every day. I would love to have research to back these claims, but such a subjective, abstract occurrence is hard to put on a graph. What I am reading more and more and hearing more and more are people who will never have a conversation with their pastor. Band members who are hired people outside the church. People who lead on stage never actually sitting in the main room with the rest of the congregation. People who serve on worship teams who are not involved in any other function of the church. These trends don’t mean the Devil is CEO of those congregations. I just see it as a slippery slope.

  8. BOOM. You just got Jesus Juked! Let me summarize this article: “I have a green room and use it, but I don’t like it, and you should all feel bad for using one too.” Travis, just start calling it “The Holy of Holies” and nobody will mind 😉

  9. So, I get the point this article is trying to make, but I feel like we’re missing the real source of the problem. The issue isn’t the “green room” itself, but rather ANYTHING that keeps people away from ministering to the congregation. It could snacks in the kitchen, it could be a close circle of friends that prevents you from meeting new people, it could even be the pastor (I once knew a worship leader who literally did nothing but talk theology with the pastor while he wasn’t on stage). To me it’s really silly to say the green room facilitates all these problems, and especially silly to pretend that renaming the room is going to do anything to change the behavior or hearts of the people in it. A room can only isolate people as much as their flawed hearts already want to be isolated. The church needs a culture change, not a room name change. I’ve played in plenty of churches with green room and plenty without, and honestly, whether or not there’s a designated room makes NO difference. If the culture of the church and the worship leader doesn’t encourage musicians to interact with the congregation, they won’t. If there’s no green room, they’ll go outside, or sit in a corner, or hang out in the kitchen. On the other hand, if there is a green room, but also a healthy culture of engagement, musicians will be out in the congregation, meeting new people, and will be active as members of the church. When they’re in the green room, it’s a space for prayer, fellowship, and yes, even a little relaxation. It can be completely healthy and life giving, but it has to have the right leadership and culture built around it, exactly like a church with no green room needs to have.

    1. Johnny, you are right. Taking away a green room doesn’t fix the problem. It is a heart. Green room can be a symptom in certain situations. In our context, I am just wanting to take this a step farther.

  10. Linda Valentine

    You have begun the process, but a long way to go. To quote you…”The Church is often too prone to adopt the principles of this world than we are to obey the commands of Scripture.” Do you realize what you have said here? It is a true statement. “The Church” has been following the ways of men for centuries, and we do not realize how far off base we have gotten. If we were to line up with correct biblical teachings, the ways of God, as He commanded in both Testaments, we would be branded heretics, and outcasts by most protestant churches. Our worship services are unrecognizable…might I say, even unrighteous. It goes fathoms deeper than just a Green Room. I applaud you in bringing to light aspects of “The Church Life” disturbing to many. Ministers, pastors, leaders, teachers, will all be held accountable for how they have lead the flock…so…I pray God’s blessing on you… and…keep searching the Scriptures for His ways…not the ways of denominational fathers.

  11. Nothing to read here, move on……..Don’t “Major” on the “Minor” and “Minor” on the “Major”
    It’s amazing to me that Christians around the world are losing their life for the sake of the gospel, but someone is wasting time writing about a “Green Room”! Is the Church/Ministry doing the work of Christ? Are people being saved and giving their hearts to Christ?
    Be careful that you don’t “STRAIN AT A GNAT”……..BECAUSE SOMETHING SO SIMPLE CAN CAUSE GREAT DIVISION……..

    1. Thanks, James. The verse you referenced is Matthew 23:24 which speaks of don’t get caught up in the current traditions of the Pharisees as they make their man-made ideas weightier that what God prescribes in the Word. In verse 23, he actually mentions justice, mercy, and faithfulness as the major things they were neglecting. So these church leaders were neglecting those biblical weighty things to practice man-made, trivial things. I couldn’t agree with you referencing this verse more. There are people losing their lives for the sake of the gospel, and there are people among us whose lives are falling apart. My whole intention was to cause those to be major things. Thanks though for pointing out that verse. It really does speak to this situation.

  12. I truly have enjoyed reading this article and most of the comments and responses. I agree with PastorTravis completely with regards to the danger of the green room and what it means to the church. In larger churches, there are many, even dozens of pastors present during the times of worship and service. It is important that all pastors minister to the people who are present and the only way that it can be done is to be present with the people. Doing multiple services is challenging and there are times when it is necessary to attend to the presentation by the pastor and worship team.

    Unfortunately, this sometimes causes to the leadership of the church to become more like Martha and less like Mary. We are called to be attentive to the needs of our congregation as a whole. We cannot lose sight of the individual either and it is a balancing act, to say the least. The real problem occurs when the green room becomes a club for those who “qualify” for one reason or another to be with the other people who have been given that same “right”. Thank you all for your insights.

  13. Monte Nichols

    Words have meaning, right?
    Thanks for challenging us to think about the terms we use and their implications.

    Team Room (worship team)?

    When I was young we were told in our evangelical church to use the term “auditorium” because a sanctuary is a place to hide. The auditorium had a “platform” (because that’s what Billy Graham used in stadium crusades?). Then it became a “Worship Center” as we began to be more intentional about our purpose for gathering
    Some congregations still have Sanctuaries, Vestries, Orders of Worship, Chancels, Naves, and Narthexes.
    Other church buildings feature Green Rooms, Stages, Set Lists, and Lobbies.
    Me, I say “foyer”. Homes have foyers, theatres have lobbies, unchurched folks don’t know narthex. I say “church campus” and “building” and I try to say “church” only when I’m speaking of the people.
    Now I’m going to have to evaluate “stage” and “set list” because they may be as performance oriented as “green room”.
    Thanks for putting it out there. Don’t be discouraged by those who may seem unkind or overly argumentative. It’s a healthy conversation that is needed.

  14. I simply think of it as the Prayer Room where anyone who wishes to can come in and pray for the service. Sometimes people will stay in prayer through the entire service as the Lord leads them. Study the history of great churches that reached out to the lost and suffering and you will find a prayer room behind the pulpit.

    1. Love that idea, John. We have a prayer room that does just that! We have had members say they love praying through the service more than sitting in it!

  15. Personally I believe the church has lost authenticity, which is difficult to maintain once you introduce salaries/payroll. Once there’s money involved, numbers become more important. Numbers in the sense of butts in seats equating to more revenue. I’m not attacking that in the aspect of churches using money for inappropriate things, just simply that it becomes the focus point to take care of overhead on top of it’s missions. Once numbers take over importance so does the “how are we going to increase numbers” mentality. This is blended with the purpose of the church and what I’ve experienced is too many churches focused on performance and entertainment and their judgments are clouded with justification. I’ve been a part of church plants and leadership and the reality of what goes on behind the scenes has driven me out of the church and into a desire to have a home church with no paid staff and a desire to serve in the community on my own with the relationships that I’m building. When the building and production become the focus, the congregation is satisfied to leading people to a Sunday service than they are to Jesus.

  16. I enjoyed the conversation more than the article as it brought more clarity to what you are trying to say. Jesus and his disciples had a “green room” – I don’t read where Jesus invited everyone to the “Upper Room” – which could be what you call your green room. 😉

    As far as starting a “church” in one’s home (Dave) that’s a good idea for you as long as no one else comes. One is a number. And we wouldn’t want you to be concerned with numbers. One leads to two, and two leads to three…well, you see where numbers lead and we don’t want to actually reach people….too many “numbers”. Jesus never should have been reaching thousands – never mind feeding them!

    1. Ah, the upper room. Not a bad idea. What is unique about Jesus’ ministry is that many times he tried to get away from the crowds, they always followed him and he didn’t turn them away (Matt. 14:13; Matt. 19:14).

  17. I sort of agree Travis, but I don’t think you go far enough. To simplify, a green room is bad because it separates leaders from non-leaders, it perpetuates the “performers” and “consumers” model of Christianity.

    But don’t modern american church services do that anyway? Just the fact that there is a STAGE is an indication of the exact same inclination; to view church as a performance to be watched. Mixing your performers into the audience before they perform is noble, but seems pretty weak in comparison to the problem. You’re basically fixing a tiny subtlety in people’s minds, which is worth doing.

    I sincerely believe that the entire modern model of a Church Service is unscriptural, based on passages like James 1:27 and more or less the entire book of Acts. I work in a para-church ministry that does hands-on service trying to meet actual needs, and we are always treated by the “Church” (I call them the Sunday Morning Performers) as though we’re inferior or subservient to their 10:00 Sunday morning objectives.

    Speeches are good, music is good. The fact that the average american spends more than 90% of their (church allocated) time listening to speeches or listening to music is a crying shame.

    1. Sorry guys, I’m soap boxing hard here. I guess I’m just really pro-sender pro-grassrootsministry.

      I hope churches can find more ways to empower the work of the servants. It’s a shame to me when a church can only muster enough service to supervise kids-church, which is essentially nothing more than self-sufficiency. Thanks for reading, hoping for feedback.

    2. Love your heart, Mark. Someone could challenge and say that a para-church ministry is not the solution though but an extra-biblical addition as well. We are trying to fight consumerism. We are trying to find isolation. We do things in our services like actual prayer groups, meet needs, counseling, etc. We are not perfect, but we are trying to work against the tide to be the Church not just got to a service. Praying we all can get there this side of Heaven!

  18. I love everything about this. Our pastor once took our worship team aside for a time of “pruning” and told us to be intentional about being a part of the congregation between our song leader responsibilities. That meeting fundamentally shaped my understanding and practice of church based ministry and fellowship. While its not always comfortable to find someone and be available to them for prayer and conversation, it is always more beneficial to the health and well being of both individuals and corporate relationships within the church than shying away in isolation. We are ministers first, and musicians a distant second. Thanks for organizing these thoughts into a cohesive package!

  19. Wow this is SO true and SO valuable and so necessary to get across! I hope that this continues to go around the world. Your post has gone to New Zealand. Awesome word bro!

  20. It was a sad day for me when I was not allowed to even go onto the ‘stage’ to give a prophetic word to a musician that I had received from the Lord. Apparently, guarding the folks on the stage is a common practice as well in the US. A bodyguard stood at the steps preventing folks from walking up to anyone on stage after the service. When i was denied that opportunity, I asked the Lord why He had given me the word, and He said, “now you know how I feel.”

      1. Thanks, and my point is bigger than that. I led worship for many years, and my husband and I planted two churches on two different continents. When we gather together, we are supposed to listen to what the Lord is saying, being open to the directives of the Holy Spirit. When we don’t provide an avenue for listening to direction from the Holy Spirit within a worship context, we in effect are shutting down God’s input into our service time…ironic in the extreme. I totally agree with the performance vs. participating in honoring/blessing/praising Him. We actually bless His heart when we worship, and each one of us brings our unique voice to bear on blessing Him….he listens for our voice individually, as well as corporately. I think many folks and some pastors just don’t ‘get the fact that we minister to God’s heart when we come together to worship. We have to boldly examine our own motivations and ask ourselves whose kingdom are we building by the very way we organize our worship times. When we teach from the front, live our lives in evidence, and respect each one who participates (these three) that WE are the body of Christ (not the pastors/worship leaders/admin staff – but each and every person), then how we do things might need to be revisited and some substantive changes made.

  21. Travis,

    I read your post with great interest when a friend shared it on Facebook. I come from a background of almost 25 years in broadcasting and had a concurrent 7-year run in a church tech team. So I have experience with a green room in both sides.

    To a point, the first few times I read this, I DID think you were overthinking it a bit.

    At the same time, I think you are quite right to be concerned about how the green room might be influencing the worship team.

    However, what really jumps out at me here — and what seems a bit off to me, honestly — is the discussion about alternate names for the room itself. That’s because if you’re correct that there’s a perception from your worship team that they SHOULD be separated from the congregation…OR a perception from the congregation that they ARE separated from the worship team, changing the room’s name will accomplish nothing. The ROOM isn’t the problem; the ATTITUDE is the problem.

    I read article after article in which people are interviewed about what’s wrong with today’s churches and one of the chief complaints seems to be a lack of authenticity.

    I’m a big believer in teachable moments, particularly when real world problems seem to collide with Scripture. And I respectfully suggest to you that this might be a perfect teachable moment for your entire church. What if you didn’t rename the room? What if you talked one Sunday about HOW the church functions behind the scenes, perhaps even show off a photo or two of the room in question? Talk about the notion of a “green room” and talk about what it’s SUPPOSED to be and what you fear it might be viewed as. You could then talk about another connotation of “green:” renewal. You could suggest that whenever the team walks into the green room from here on out, you’re challenging them — every time — to think of that room as the place they renew their commitment to serve God and His people.

    While I understand the importance of not allowing a church to compromise the way it does things because of how the outside-the-church world does things, I think it feels odd to many of us when a church runs in fear from such things. I think a church needn’t be afraid of having a green room; it merely needs to make sure that space, like every other part of its facility, is used in the right way and for the right reason.

    Just a thought.

    Thank you for posting this and for the thought and discussion you’ve inspired with this post.

    1. Appreciate the feedback. The point of the post is not renaming the room. In fact, the only reason that is in there is because this post was meant for our church family and somehow it sparked something in other places. That part is in there so people at our location know what to call the room that has lots of different meetings in it.

  22. John Weygandt

    Travis,
    I really enjoy the dialogue here in the Comments section, but have to confess the ideas you mention in this blog are not entirely agreeable to me. Although, I like an earlier point you made that we probably have more to agree about than not.

    I am curious no one has pointed out the reason(s) we call it a “green room.” The most common story… in the early days of bright (probably electric) stage lighting… scientists pronounced the easiest color for the human eye to accept after being in bright stage lighting… is the color green. So they painted backstage meeting rooms… green. For more, take a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_room.

    I find it most perplexing that your primary source of concern seems the term, green room, is… “a practice of the world.” If that’s the case, then perhaps you, or someone, will also declare death to… the stage, chairs or pews, bricks and mortar and any construction materials “of the world.” I hope you see my point.

    Better said, your primary source of concern is this room, by any name, is divisive by its very existence. In fact, your penultimate declaration, “Death to the church green room. There is no room for celebrities among us.” presupposes that green rooms by their very nature are ABOUT celebrity-hood. I just don’t agree that is necessarily the case… at least in my experience.

    Reflection on that led me to realize… I believe your blog is attempting to DESCRIBE a particular situation in your unique, particular church at a specific point in time. This is underscored by really hearing your heart and intent in your comments/replies. Your heart is clearly to DESCRIBE. Unfortunately, something about the tone of your blog feels like you intend to PRESCRIBE. I believe this is the core of some apparent misunderstandings in readers’ comments.

    Thank you for this dialogue; we need it!

    1. Good points, John. I had a different blog title, but these don’t succinctly describe what I am getting after like the current one (“Hey, I Don’t Want to Fall into a Trap of American Christianity Concerning Ecclesiological Division” or “Let’s Be Careful of Celebrity Isolationism Invading the Church” or “Let’s Evaluate Current Worship Traditions In Light of Biblical Explanations”). Kind of difficult to describe. The original post was meant to promise to our congregation of our continuing commitment to be a family. I do think celebrity-based churches are on the rise and it is dangerous. I think that smaller churches are copying traits of bigger churches which is also dangerous. So in this social media world we live in, this post got viral at some level. I think it speaks to the fact that the disconnect ripple is larger than I thought it was. So, I am grateful to start the dialogue, but I hope it has caused us to evaluate in our own contexts more than throw stones at others.

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