Worship Pastor fired for not being “cool” enough

Cht Samuels

Chet Samuels

Farmers Branch, Texas – Two years ago Chet Samuels became the worship and arts pastor at the Farmer’s Branch Outreach Center, a large independent church in the burgeoning Dallas suburbs.  He initially felt at home in his new setting and the church seemed to be receptive to his ministry.

His problems started when he began to open the weekly worship practice with a brief devotional based upon the devotional, “Our Daily Bread.” Some of the worship team felt it was a waste of time and they should read it at home on their own if they chose to do so. Some felt it was “legalistic” that he would even bring it up.

But his real problem surfaced when he began to insert a hymn into the 45 minute worship set. The final straw came when he directed the congregation away from the Powerpoint screen and instructed them to turn in their hymnals.  Many did not even know what he meant and began to pass the hymnals up to the front creating chaos in the church.

On Friday he was dismissed from his position.

Senior pastor Sam Smucker explained, “Hymns are generally regarded as ‘not cool’ and in this extremely competitive Dallas church market we just can’t afford to be identified as anything but “cutting edge cool.” The Living Word Community Church over in Grapevine is just killing us and we have lost a steady stream to them. The last thing we need is a hymn to destroy the church. Furthermore, many of our members complain they just can’t ‘get into worship’ if they sing a hymn. Chet is a nice enough fellow but just doesn’t fit around here. With his gifting he would probably be a better fit in a small town in the panhandle.”

A very candid Chip Hopkins who serves on the FBOC board elaborated, “Chet just wasn’t cool enough. We tried to get him to style his hair and wear a Bluetooth ear device at all times (even when he sleeps.)   We wanted him to dress with an open front shirt (preferably Hawaiian) but he had the gall to periodically wear a tie. That is so uncool!”

Pastor Chet does have an Ipod and Iphone but some have noticed he seems to have trouble using them. Hopkins stated, “He just sort of fumbles with the controls and seems unsure of himself. It sure doesn’t do much to instill confidence in his leadership.”

Chet was disappointed at his dismissal and wondered how it would look on his resume but is seeking direction from God. He feels there just must be some place he can serve although he does recognize he is perceived by many as rather old-fashioned.

Note: To avoid any further confusion the custodial staff collected the remaining hymnals in the FBOC sanctuary and will try to donate them to a homeless shelter or nursing home.


24 responses to “Worship Pastor fired for not being “cool” enough

  1. Satire or truth? Who knows! The sad thing is…this could actually be true in some of our “contemporary” and “cool” churches.

    When I mentioned (and this is true) that we should dig the dusty boxes of hymn books out of the church closet and at least give the hymnals to families in the church to use as a devotional tool, one of the elders asked to meet with me because he felt I was complaining about the church too much.

    Now…if I could only find my tie!


  2. I would say that I agree that this is a sad state of the church and unfortunately many churches today are focusing so much on being “cool” and “gaining people” that I’m afraid we’ll lose the real sense of worshiping God for all generations and people groups. I appreciate this young man and his strong stance of worshipping God in many forms to enhance the worship service. I feel unfortunately, this church is missing the key point of what worship is really about. May we take this story as inspiration to be a church that is wanting to worship God and not one that is about “gaining people and popularity.”

  3. Has political correctness (PC) come to the church? May it never be! Chet, my brother, God will direct you to a home where He’s welcome too. I love choruses with the best of them, but I also love the hymns and Our Daily Bread

  4. Jealous for The holy catholic Church

    Nice post. Unfortunately that is not far from the truth.

    Under the “Today” section of yesterday’s local paper there appears a large image of an “old” toy from the 80’s which made a big hit in this past summer’s box office entitled, “Transformers”. The caption along the side reads the following, “Nostalgia will only get you so far, the brands have to keep revitalizing and revamping to be relevant to today’s kids.”–Chris Byrne, toy analyst. I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard that same phrase from the church, only substitute “churches” for “brands”. Is the church nothing more than a nostalgic toy that needs to conform to the world? Romans 12:2

  5. I was sent this by a friend who had been sent it from a pastor. I immediately thought ‘satire’, but it could all be true. I know, in our church, they’ve taken out the hymnals, and we hardly ever hear one. Would love for those to come back!

  6. Worship is a personal & senitimental relationship with our HOLY Heavenly DAD who we adore & appreciate.

    There are different gifts bestowed upon different churches & ministers; thus we also need to seek GOD’s wisdom to discern how we fix into the church of old and modern.

    While one door is closed, another window or door is open as our Gracious God will never takes us where His grace will not keep or protect. When our hearts are really & ready to serve HIM, He will qualifies the called as GOD doesn’t call the qualfied.

    While the fired for not “being cool enough” pastor seek HIS potential new pasture, the remaining church needs re building probably going back to GOD’s words from Eph. 4:11-12 on rebuilding the Church again.

    May GOD’s peace & love keep the church as the whole body of Christ is surely being affect in this instance. GOD’s amazing love is for all after all.

    The above are penned with concern, care & love of GOD. IMMANUEL

    Warmest regards from Sally Tan

  7. There are elements of this that could very easily be true. One of the comments in the piece that perhaps is all too often true is, “…in this extremely competitive Dallas church market we just can’t afford to be identified as anything but “cutting edge cool.”

    First, it is entirely possible that the prevailing attitude in a lot of areas is that that the “church market” is high competitive, rather than complimentery and second that the thriving church is too often identified with being cool rather than with Jesus Christ.

    The article does give one pause to think ….. and pray.

  8. Our pastor said that, when he became the new pastor at our current church, he told his “board” that he wanted to focus the ministry on youth, bringing them in, raising them up and sending them out. He was told that “Youth don’t put money in the offering plate.” The church was already dying at that point so obviously the effort to attract the people who CAN put money in the offering plate wasn’t working.
    He did upgrade the “cool” factor of the church (see website) and the youth ministry is very strong but the mission has always been to make people feel welcome in a relaxed atmosphere where they can feel free to worship and learn to “do life with” and love the Lord. I’m a parent of teens and I am glad to put money in the plate every week for this mission. Cool or not, learning how to “do life” with Jesus…Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about?

  9. It is time to think and conclude whether we are serving ourselves or GOD.

    We should do all things in the fear of GOD and in the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    We need to pray for the ”REVIVAL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”.

    Was this happening among the early Christians?, was anything like ”Dismissal”?.

    GOD’s judgement is coming soon. Jesus is the only head of the church and he oversees everything that takes place in the church and not anybody.

    We are commissioned by Christ to uphold and strengthen church and not dismissed or sacked.

    GOD will help and have mercy upon the present days so called and self-aclaimed Christians.

    I prefer and very proud of ”OLD TIME FAITH” practiced by the early Christians.

    To GOD be the Glory.

  10. Power point slides projected on the front of our sanctuaries have reduced the use of hymnals but they lack one very important element – the music notes. Singing in harmony together is becoming a lost art and I fear that our people are quickly losing the ability to sing in harmony. Our church uses both and encourages both. Having good old hymn sings in the church and occasionally singing acapella is still a blessing. As far as I am concerned, this is still very cool. (Take it from one who is surrounded by middle schoolers daily– coolness needs to be taught and modeled.)

    Most sincerely, The “way cool” -Mr. Book
    Mike Book

  11. I am an experienced Worship Pastor, song-writer and I do itinerant music ministry in and around the Chicago area with original contemporary material. And I have just enough experience to pick up on this kind of UNBIBLICAL approach and attitude within a church real quick so that they wouldn’t have to fire me. Upon discovering this type of approach to worship ministry and after 1 or 2 efforts to lead and redirect folks back to what Scripture calls us to do in that regard, I would very easily and decisively RESIGN and move on.

    The Church is not Walmart! It’s not “ChurchMart” or “Super ChurchMart!”

  12. Chet, it is unfortunate what has happend to you. Churches are made up of people who at times make decisions that hurt others. The belended service and focus on scripture is the knd of service that meets needs of many. If you read this post please contact me.

    Max Brand
    Pastor, New Hope Church Navasota Tx

  13. Church IS a living organism so if it does not “grow” it is dead already, that’s the first point I’d like to make. Second, is that it’s not about being “cool” but being “current” and if we expect to reach new LOST souls and people who don’t know Christ we MUST be able to relate to them, and they relate to us by what we look like..once that barrier is crossed, GOd can then work on the heart. BUT that is just my opinion.

  14. Wait, am I reading this correctly? Do people really think this article is true?? People, this article is a completely made-up satire!! Chet Samuels DOES NOT EXIST. Read the “About This Site” link before writing anything please.

    SCW note: Indeed this is satire as explained in the “About The Site”. However stranger things have happened.

  15. I fear that a lot of people are missing out on the rich doctrinal meaning of hymns. Folk don’t know how to read music anymore unless they are in band. Very few take choir in school No harmonies, unless we make them up. I see a lot of old people who have been devout Christians (evangelicals) all of their life getting discouraged and leaving, and not going anywhere. This did not happen when i was young. I appreciated the older saints. They encouraged me just by being there. What happened to the idea of blend?

  16. This would be the last church I would attend. I’ve gone the contemporary route attempting to be like Lakewood, WillowCreek, and Saddleback. What I’m finding out is people are getting sick of this nonsense we call “church”. People I meet are crying out for more meaningful traditional/liturgical worship. Funny how the pendulum swings back and forth through the years.
    Many of these churches like this one described is a prime example of the church adapting the secular business models that simply create a group of church folks who are complete idiots when it comes to worship. The music and preaching today is all about “me” and “how can I feel good after a warm and fuzzy message?”
    What ever happened to preachers and churches who talk about denying self and suffering for the cause of Christ?

  17. As sentimentality is to 5th avenue advertising, so are “testimonies” and “stories” to the sheeple, I mean people.

  18. It might be good form for the author of this website to let his readers know whether this particular story is true or not although having been a worship leader in several churches over the last 35 years this would not surprise me in the least.
    God speed.

  19. Whether the story is true or not it does bring us to contemplate what is going on in our worship services. Diversity in music is the key, are we not admonished to sing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs?

    Sharron of Christian Praise Blog

  20. Church is not about teaching repentance anymore? only being cool? Wow! getting rid of hyms? What has this country come to? Maybe they need to keep the hyms AND the Contemporary music for the younger generation who need Christ also. This is why I dont go to church anymore and go to God instead.

    • CL, i just wanted to say that yes some people in churches act really silly and give the church a bad name, but to say I dont go to church is a problem on your part because at the end of the day who is the church? It is the people. So the people whom drives you crazy are the people you are to minister to with the spiritual gifts God has given you. The writer of Hebrews also makes it clear that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. So I want to encourage you to plug yourself in a church. And serve the Lord by serving people. And may He recieve all the glory and honour from it.

  21. Obviously satire – as the pic that is supposed to be ‘Chet’ is that of English football (‘soccer’) player David Beckham. Good point made of sad church competition nevertheless.

  22. Utilizing theological process (Biblical, Practical and Systematic) to determine how best to proceed with discipling our people has given way to secular methodologies and psycho-spiritual reasoning. Our people, including our leadership, is generally Biblically illiterate and more interested in putting people into the pews (or theater style seats) than truly discipling them. What you win people with is what you win them to – so if superficial spirituality and a focus on “doing life with Jesus” is the focus, then the church will never disciple people the way Jesus intended them to be discipled. Discipleship is not about doing life with Jesus as though he is some peripheral ad on that enhances our existence. Discipleship is about Jesus as Lord of your life – suborning your self and submitting to Him so that you truly love Him with ALL of your heart, soul, mind and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself (which might mean sacrificing some of your preferences for those of others) as an expression of love for God. I have been a worship pastor for 15 years and have come to see my church go from viewing me as young and hip to out-of-date almost overnight. The “in-my-prime” stage seemed to never come and then be gone as though it never happened. We need to get back to applying Biblical principle to the work of the church. I believe if we do that, the Holy Spirit will work as he promised and Christ (not men) will build His church.

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