For the past 20 years The Church of the Good Shepherd in Phoenix, Arizona has started their Sunday morning worship service the same way;with 15-20 minutes of continuous praise and worship music led by the church's praise band and worship leader Jason Adams. But this past Sunday something happened that no one expected, and now this thriving church of 800 members is faced with a new and possibly divisive challenge.
"Everything seemed like it was going to be normal," said member Mark Curry. "No one would have expected anything out of the ordinary. But everyone got really confused when Jason asked everyone to take our hymals and open them to the hymn O Worship the King. Then we just sang it, like right off of the page while only the keyboard played a basic piano sound. We just stood there holding hymnals in our hands while singing all three verses! I was very confused."
"I was a little taken back by it," said praise band member Alyssa Henderson. "I mean, I don't think that there is anything wrong with singing out of a hymnal, it's just not what we're used to. I think it would be alright to do it, like, every now and then, but not every Sunday. We're just not ready for that."
The church's pastor, Thomas Langly commented on the situation. "Many of our members have come up to me deeply concerned over this issue. It appears that most people are okay with the idea of singing out of the hymnal every now and then, they just don't want it to happen every Sunday. I personally would like to see more of it, but it's not something I'm going to rock the boat about it. I think it will just take time."
While most of the church members we spoke with were very gracious over the issue, some where very upset."The next thing they're gonna want is to bring a blasted pipe organ up in here, and do away with all of our guitars, drums, and keyboards." said member Rick Everett. "They're gonna have us just singing verses out of hymnals with an organ and a piano. I'll be long gone before that day.