Friday, July 09, 2010

The Graying of the Convention

Indianapolis hosted this year's North American Christian Convention July 5-9. I'm writing this in the Indianapolis airport awaiting a 5:14 flight to Detroit and then to Phoenix. Although I don't go to the annual convention each year I noticed something quite interesting about this year's gathering. Maybe I'm wrong but there didn't seem to be a plethora of young preachers attending the convention. There was, however, an increasingly large number of "graybeards" -- not literally of course.

For years now the NACC has been in the hands of the Baby Boomers. The convention reflects their music preferences, their interests, their methodology and more. From what I saw the dominance may be fading. If the makeup of the crowd becomes typical it will no longer reflect their dominance and it is possible it might not exist at all. When their dominance is gone look for a shift in music styles, workshop emphases, and main speakers.

I keep hearing that younger people want to return to the style and the music of their grandparents. The slick professionally choreographed services in most megachurches are written off as shallow, trite, and sometimes pathetic. They still want excellence but they've not made it their god. We may have had a taste of what's coming in this year's music. In addition to the rock choruses there was a sprinkling of the old hymns. These older hymns, however, we sung to newer instrumentation, projected graphics, and revised arrangements. Nonetheless, unless the music is loud enough to raise the dead it could appeal to some of us older types. What may be amusing, however, is the mashed cat complaining the Baby Boomers will do when music styles change. But then, what come around goes around!

I always enjoy the connecting and renewing of relationships that occur during the convention. Most of the main sessions are challenging even when I don't agree with everything said. It was gratifying to hear a message on discipleship and teaching. Brian Jones said many things I said almost a decade ago. Thank God, someone is seeing some of the weaknesses in what's been happening and pointing out the need for change.

Indianapolis did give me an unwelcome gift -- a horrible cold. My nose is dripping, I'm coughing my head off, and there's a multitude of sneezes. The pile of used kleenex is increasing. I know! I know! That's more than you wanted or needed to know but, hey, its the truth!