Last Sunday, I got to make music with the band at Pine View Church in Ypsilanti. It was a treat for a handful of reasons.
David Vaughn is the music director at Green Wood (my home church) and also plays at Pine View Church (http://www.mypineview.org). I’d been wanting to get to Pine View and hear the group for a long time but never quite made it. Last Sunday, David found he needed a substitute bass player. (My friend Tony Fahmie usually plays bass there but couldn’t make it.) I jumped at the chance. David sent me links to some of the songs they were doing and I listened through them. Great music – so different than the downtown church or Green Wood.
I got there at 8:30 and got set up. They have a great sound system, each of us not only had our own monitor, but a local pad so we could create our own mix of instruments. I used Tony’s bass rig, all I had to bring was my guitar. There were two or different choirs (including a smaller praise group and a children’s choir) and they delivered! It was such a treat to be playing that kind of music and listening to all those voices.
There were two other big surprises that really made me glad I went.
First was that they had a woman (Karen) signing the service to some folks in the front row. This is a big deal to me because Lisa learned and love ASL and is wondering what to do with it. So, I want to have her come down next Sunday and watch ASL in action.
The second thing that stood out to me was the pastor. He has all the high-energy I expected from a Pentecostal-style minister (it’s an Apostolic church) but with a broader sensibility that I expected. In just that one morning, I saw and heard two things that really excited me about his ministry.
The first was the pre-service class. I missed most of it but had a short chat with a guy named Darryl (who turned out to be a Social Work student at EMU). The pastor was doing a series on mental health. To be honest, my assumption was that the message would be something like “pray harder and turn yourself over to Jesus and these problems will go away”. In fact, it wasn’t that at all. The message was “we can’t be judgmental about people with these types of challenges, they should get the help they need and we should support them.” So much for me as “free of prejudicial assumptions about denominations”.
The second thing was during a slide show. I missed part of it (the musicians were out of the room and came back in mid-sermon), but what I caught was him getting choked up about something that happened at a recent event at the church. From what I gathered, it was open to the community. There was a slide of a young girl – I think doing a chalk drawing on the sidewalk. Pastor Nate said she was a Muslim girl from a local family then commented (and yes, I am paraphrasing) that this was how God wants us to be – loving each other in God’s name, not worrying about which church, temple, or mosque you are in while you are doing it. That couldn’t have been a better thing for me to hear to get me excited about his ministry. God’s bigger than our thoughts about God.
I’d recommend the church to anyone who loves good music, an open-hearted pastor, and a welcoming congregation.
Side note: there’s a very good interview with David here in which he talks about his background, influences, style, and thoughts about church music.