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.