An Anonymous Note

The Church / December 15, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, we received this anonymous note tucked inside of a Sunday morning sign-in book. It was written on a bathroom paper towel and followed a hard Sunday of technical chaos. (did you catch that?…written on a bathroom paper towel!)

I’ll be honest. We don’t get a lot of anonymous mail. Most of our members care enough about our church to confront issues head on as the Bible directs. Our members are fearless. But occasionally, we get a cowardly wing-nut who wants to fire bullets from the comfort of their theater seat.

We value bold honesty and direct truth telling at our church, but not the anonymous kind.

Anyway, I thought about responding to this anonymous note directly in this post, but thought it might be more fun to let my readers respond.

The comment box is open, so let me know what you think…SERIOUSLY!

Dave Milam
Dave Milam is a pastor, communicator and the founder of One Life Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a a gifted communicator Dave's right brained style of delivery helps his listener connect and remember God's truth in a uniquely visual way. Connect with Dave on Google+

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on December 15, 2008

Sorry, Dave. You know I always have pens in my pocket, but I couldn’t find any other paper.

Have I voiced THAT complaint yet?

on December 15, 2008

Oh, seriously….

Dave, this just means Kinetic is doing its job. There’s someone there who needs to know more about how the community that is Christian works and plays and worships together. Needs to know that they are part of the band, not merely a person watching a performance. And they need to know that we all need practice for the eternity of worship we will do in heaven. And Dave, buddy, I am sorry, but you cannot teach everyone everything. Your staff, your teachers, and random folks in your congregation have to teach this community. And they will.

Hopefully, you get more of these, from newer people.

(still shocked that ANYONE could complain about music style/type/issues at a CHURCH. Stunned, actually)

on December 15, 2008

I have three things to comment. One, I feel compassion for this person. Not everyone has the ability to overcome the fear of confrontation. For this person, maybe it took a lot of courage just to voice their opinion in this manner. It’s not how I would have approached it, but I don’t know this person’s struggles.

My second comment is to the author. God doesn’t care about all those things, only that there is a song for HIM in your heart. Lose yourself in your worship and I bet all those items you’re concerned about will melt away into the background.

Personally, I haven’t been at a lot of services lately. But I do spend a lot of time in my own song worship, and although it’s not the only music I listen to, to help get my mind and heart focused, I find comfort in listening to the sounds of the Kinetic church band via their CD. Not because it’s all put together so tightly, but because it reminds me of the intimate HUMAN nature of Kinetic.

on December 15, 2008

Sounds like this person has bigger personal issues going on than the music. People definitely would rather lash out at someone else so they have negative attention drawn towards them (aka speck in eye), than to face whatever challenging issues they are dealing with (aka plank in eye).
Take heart- you and your worship team know you are doing your best, and your focus is on praising the One True God!
If you are ever able to speak with the author, know that it really is more about his own issues, than Kinetics. Keep the conversation going with “Tell me more…” and you will eventually get to the true heart of the matter.
I will keep Author in my prayers today, as I am sure you will, as well. After all, it is impossible to have hatred toward someone you are praying for!
Thanks so much for all you do to create authentic worship and relationship. We need more leaders with your heart!

on December 15, 2008

CURT: You completely crack me up! I too am shocked!

DEREK: Already done!

ANNA: I’m totally with you! God wants our heart more than He wants our perfect performance. Daniel does his best every Sunday to “encourage” people to sing. (That’s why we call him the ‘worship leader.’)

SARAH: To be honest, the author was right on a few points. (just a few) So, I don’t really have any problem with the writers thoughts or opinions, though I may disagree with him. Instead, I have a HUGE problem with the route he chose to convey those opinions. Anonymous notes and backroom gossip are clearly condemned by God in scripture, because they promote disunity in the church. And we call the people of Kinetic to engage in honest and truth-telling conversations with each other in order to protect the unity of the church.

on December 15, 2008

To state the obvious, yeah this approach isn’t going to yield anything positive, and if all you have to offer is negativity then it’s better to just keep your mouth shut.

But since it has been brought up, I’m not a fan of being told to sing/stand up/spin around/whatever. Maybe some people need the encouragement, I don’t know. But just as what is on the stage doesn’t really matter, the way the crowd appears doesn’t really matter either. Personally I just find all the bopping around to be distracting, so I don’t do it, and it would be nice if that is ok.

So you could almost read the note as “you don’t tell me how to worship, and I won’t tell you how to do things on the stage”. Maybe not what they meant exactly, but it’s an interesting perspective.

on December 15, 2008

Last night our Pastor reminded us of our great need for humility and he gave us 20 helps for it. One of them was to listen to reproof. Prov. 9:8b-9 says ” Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you, Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning”. He reminded us that pride can be very blinding so even if someone tries to correct us in a way that we don’t like or we don’t agree with, we should at least consider what they say and look for the “grain of truth” in it and not get defensive (prideful) Wow! Very convicting and very humbling! Often times even if we are doing something well, we can still excel still more because none of us have arrived yet. Micah 6:8 tells us what our responsibility before God is …to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God” If others could see into my heart like God could, they could tell you a whole lot of things wrong with me! I am so thankful that I am not getting the justice I deserve (hell) but instead the mercy thru Christ! Therefore, I want to thank Him by obeying Him and He was the most Humble King.

on December 15, 2008

frame it.

on December 15, 2008

What a shame. I love the folks at Kinetic and especially Dave and Anne and family who are in my opinion, spot on. I know I don’t go there at this time, but it sadens my heart to hear such uglyness! The one thing I have been working on in my worship life is when a 2 hour session or less time comes around, why the heck should I be concerned about such minute details? My heart should not be on watching the band and finding a reason not to be in worship. “Get me into worship” is farthest from my M.O. ya know? Please keep up the great work you guys do! I really am sorry for this bump in the road and hope this person can really find worship that is not about “me”, but about worshiping God and not letting out all the junk you wish He’d fix in your life. When you focus on Worship(praising God), He’ll stand by you and help you THROUGH your issue, not fix it. Peace you guys and Daniel, keep kickin’ it out. Love you guys!

on December 15, 2008

Last night our Pastor reminded us of Micah 6:8., ” What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” He gave us 20 helps for being more humble and talked about how easy it is to be prideful. The first help was to: Listen to reproof. Prov. 9:8b says “Rebuke a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning” Our Pastor reminded us that pride is often blinding. We don’t see it. So, even if we don’t think we are doing anything wrong when someone points it out and even if they point it out in a way that we don’t care for, that we should at least consider if there might be a “grain of truth” in it and humblly focus on that. Afterall, if they could really see into our heart like God can, they could tell us a whole lot more of what we really were doing wrong! Yikes! Very convicting! So this encourages me to me merciful and humble and to remember that if I got what I really deserved (justice) I would be in Hell. That helps me keep my perspective.
Even when we think we are doing things right and well, we can still excel still more –especially in love.

on December 15, 2008

I agree that you can find something helpful in every criticism, but I also believe if you critisize someone you should be willing to help them fix the problem. Maybe Author needs to volunteer to help instead of speaking poorly of the ones that do. It’s not easy making a service happen, and it’s far from just pushing a button. The menand and women that sing, run sound, put the words and graphics on screen, etc. work hard and have a lot of pressure on them. It’s not a walk in the park.

I think Monday morning quarter backing is a huge problem in any church. The church is filled by two groups of people, the 15% that want to serve and help their church grow and the 85% that want to sit back and take everything they can and never want to serve. Loving God and your church isn’t like going to the gas station and filling up the tank hoping it last you till next Sunday. Get involved and be a part of ministry. Wouldn’t it be great if those numbers were reversed?! And as for the behind the scenes ministry, it’s one of the hardest ministries to be a part of, so don’t knock it till you try it.

I’m not a spinner and a raising hands kind of guy, but it brings my heart joy to see others worshiping in that way. I’m going to worship how I feel I worship my God best. Just because Daniel says it doesn’t mean he yelling at you, he just wants people to get involved. Just because someone is knocking on the door doesnt mean you have to answer, although it might be Jesus so maybe you should. Some people need that proding, and if it’s not you then let it go and worship your way. He’s not telling you how to worship, he just wants you to worship. His title is worship leader for a reason.

In summation, if you want to complain you need to be willing to help change things. If your happy on the sideline in the stands, then stay there, but don’t complain about your team losing the game if you didn’t try and help them win.

on December 15, 2008

It almost sounds like Simon Cowell was at your church.

Being “in the business” I tend to attend church with a critical eye to see what I can steal or feel good about what my church was doing.

I agree with Sederburg that I don’t always like being instructed how to worship, but I always enjoyed Daniel’s passion in leading us in worship. I do miss being there with you guys. Take the needed correction, ditch the rest and keep pursuing where God is leading you.

on December 15, 2008

that’s just hilarious.

obviously, the author knows A LOT. but something the author DOES NOT KNOW, is Daniel’s heart. Even though I am sure he learned a lot of stuff from the author through this letter, he probably would have received these comments very openly and very humbly had a conversation happened face to face, too.

I don’t think this approach was necessarily courageous, just ballsy.

on December 15, 2008

My mom tells me that if you have a holy dicontent about something then maybe you’re supposed to do something about it. However, an anonymous letter is not an effective way to bring about change.

on December 15, 2008

that should read DISCONTENT … oh goodness. There should be spell check on this thing….

on December 15, 2008

Well here is my dilemma. I can try to word my response as well crafted and “brilliant” or I can just be me and be real. So much of me wants to respond to this “napkin criticism” with the right words to make everyone happy and feel ok about everything. The other part of me, which I believe is the part filled with the Holy Spirit, says to be who I am. I want to make the effort to respond to the Holy Spirit even though this is only a blog post.

I want to go on public record and say. I’m not the best worship leader. I’m not the best singer. I don’t always pick the right songs and many times I get up on stage very broken and still trying to figure out the mystery of God and grace.

I am still sad though. I want to make church on Sunday morning’s amazing to everyone. I really do. I want to give my best effort to worship and also lead people to worship. It’s kind of what I’m paid for (along with a few other things). This is my first ministry position so I have had the wonderful opportunity of learning most of what I know about ministry and church right here at Kinetic. One of the most important principle I have had to learn since joining Kinetic is that you can’t do it on your own. I can’t make a Sunday morning worship experience happen all by myself and we need a really big team of volunteers to pull off the dream. I am proud to say that only a few years later we have an amazing team of people all giving there best effort to learn skills and be creative with our Sunday morning service. I agree with Colin though, it’s not as easy as it looks.

There is more I could say but the rest of it is summed up pretty simply in a few short sentences or points:

1. We must make the choice to worship God. (musical style, lighting, level of sound, etc do not change the fact that we are in the presence of the Author and Sustainer of lLife)
2. Church is not a show. I value authenticity….not performance. God sees past all the charades anyways so what’s the point of putting it on for people. I love God! I will worship him because he is God. I will worship him and abandon myself for him because the leaders before me did so (eg. King David)
3. We are called to “SING” Really! Sing. In fact ,depending on the translation, singing is mentioned over 200 times. It sounds crazy but God put something in us that resonates with singing and requires us to respond to Him in this kind of outward expression. Singing is not the only way to worship but it’s pretty important.
4. Psalm 47:1 even says to, “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy”
5. Mostly importantly Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. So really nothing we do is good enough to repay the debt to God. I still give it my best shot though. He is worth it.

on December 15, 2008 is my 2 cents and that is probably what it is really worth. I LOVE KINETIC! I LOVE DANIEL and continued to go to Kinetic partlybecause when he sings praise and worship (or even when Cam sings) I lose myself. Seriously- I was lisetning to the Kinetic song ‘Lose Myslef’ on the highway (on more than 1 occasion) and drove past my exit. Try explaining to your boss that as a reason for being late to a meeting! The look was priceless.
Anyway- to Sederburg’s point- everyone worships differently. I was riased Catholic and simply don’t get the raising hands thing. Sorry- just don’t get it. But- if others want to then more power to them.

I also agree with Colin the 15/85 rule exits- they write books about it. So- listen to the message Greg gave yesterday and come help make it better. Writing notes and what should be done isn’t helpful. Get off your but (to be direct) and come help set it up.

on December 15, 2008


We met at Camp in Kentucky a couple years ago, so you probably don’t remember me, and I have never been to Kinetic – but I know Dave and I think I read you and know where you’re at. You have Passion and you see the need for scriptural worship

We agree.

But the very brokenness you accept and understand is what you are experiencing here. It’s come to the point (as it does in any body) that you cannot eye to eye/heart to heart every person. And, whether it’s because of pride or self-love or perceived importance or perceived attacks, (all of that being forms of sin) people will not understand the Word as you do.

In fact, I suspect I could play the word game and get to the point that I could convince people (some anyway) that what you say is more or less not complete and even opposite. (it must be so: a whole denomination uses no instruments in worship and another whole denomination uses no songs not approved by their leadership).

Words do not matter: the Word does.

So continue in love. 1st Tim Chapter four says this:

11Command and teach these things. 12Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

You’re in the game, Daniel. Now, run to win. I was encouraged by your words above.


on December 16, 2008

All I see here is a note volunteering to be part of the tech team.

on December 16, 2008

Kinetic CD!? What!? That sounds like something that absolutely needs to be in my car stereo as soon as physically possible! How can I get one!? I didn’t know such a thing existed…

on December 16, 2008

There is a lot of planning and teamwork every week to transform the theater into a place of worship to our Lord along with the presentation of message He wishes us to hear and learn. Daniel, I think you and everyone involve do a great job every week to make this transformation. This criticism hurts and is very hard to receive but sometimes criticism is even harder to give, thus may be the cause for the anonymous note. Re-read the note in a learning heart as if it was written in a contents of suggestion.

P.S. I didn’t write this note just looking at it in a different light.

on December 16, 2008

I wasn’t going to say anything. I sat by the computer yesterday trying to gather my thoughts. Then I moved on, and decided not to. But I couldn’t sleep last night, thinking about this. I know it may sound extreme, but I could NOT get it off my mind.

This is not fair. I love Kinetic. Absolutely know it is where God has me. BUT…

Posting this is like throwing a piece of meat to a bunch of wild, hungry animals. It’s like saying “Here you guys go. Devour him.” It is unfair. It is unbiblical. If war are chastising this guy for how he dealt with his issues, then we too need to head our own criticism.

If the guy who wrote the note is reading this, I’m sorry for how we’ve dealt with this. You are loved. If we can love and accept whoever stole our trailer and all our stuff, we love and accept you, no matter your thoughts, which are valid. We are all entitled to both our opinions and our decisions on how to express them. Please join us again. If not, I hope this does not make you want to give up on church all together. I’ve seen it happen way too many times. So, sorry.

Say what you will, I love you all, but this was unnecessary. As a church, and leadership, we should not teach one another to deal with conflict and frustration in this manner. Consider this what I believe to be bold truth telling. We need to hear it.

on December 16, 2008

Also consider that at 5:30 am, I cannot spell. Please look past my type-o’s!!!! 🙂

on December 16, 2008

Liz- I don’t think any of us meant it to hurt the perosn who wrote the note. It’s not like we are going to kick him out of the club becuase we don’t like his idea of conflict resolution. As Anna said- this was probably hard for him and we can respect that. It is simply this- it is so much easier for people to throw stones from the side lines then to step up. I
I know you will agree when i say- Daniel is an amazing and gifted worhip leader and Dave, Joe and the rest fo our leaders constantly speak to my heart on Sunday mornings. We love our church, we love the memebers, the attenders, adn the occasional guests. I am grateful to God every day that Kinetic welcomes the broken! So if whoever this person is- we welcome him and his criticism. Personally, just would have preferred it to be in a more constructive fashion.

on December 16, 2008

Oh- and I am always a terrble typist:)

on December 16, 2008

one more thing- Megan- I am sure Daniel can hook you up with a CD!!!!

on December 16, 2008

Well, we may say we respect him but the way we dealt with it was far from respectful. Put yourself in his shoes. How would you feel? Angry? Even moreso than when you wrote the note?

I believe the note should have remained as it began— anonymous.

It’s not about who’s right, who’s wrong, who sings and who doesn’t. It’s about responding correctly. It is easier for people to stand on the sidelines and throw stones. And that’s not only what the author did— it’s what WE AS A CHURCH are doing. Having fun with his concerns. I stand by my belief– it is unnecessary and unfair. The way we dealt with him doesn’t say we welcome him. We need to deal differently.

on December 16, 2008

I have turned comments off, because I care too much about the unity of our church. I will write a final comment tonight for this post.

on December 18, 2008

Over the past several days, I have thought a lot about this post and have finally come to this conclusion: it was wrong for me to post this anonymous note and encourage my readers to systematically torpedo it’s contents. I should have known that it would get pretty ugly. I am saddened by the possibility that in my effort to oppose this behavior might have irreparably crushed the spirit of someone for which Christ died. Please accept my apologies for my poor judgement. I am sorry. I was wrong.

Liz, your comments broke my heart. Thank you for your pointed honesty.

To be clear, this post was not about the opinions of the writer for me. Truth be told, this particular Sunday was a rough one and I actually agreed with many of the comments made by the infamous note. I never claimed that the writer’s content was inaccurate, just that his approach was inappropriate. My intent was to aggressively oppose the writing of anonymous notes, NOT to destroy the writer. Again, I am sorry.

Our staff works really hard to be incredibly approachable. I am not the guy hiding out in a green room between services, I am available. Our staff is accessible, willing to talk every Sunday and are typically the last to leave. We are never too busy for a hard conversation and are available for coffee at any request. In addition, every Scoop Meeting & Kinetic 101 underscores the reality that Kinetic Church has an open door policy on any and every issue. We have created an environment that actually encourages challenging the status quo and welcomes suggestions that make us better.

This is why I feel the need to aggressively oppose anonymous notes and combat secret gripe sessions about my messages or any other kinetic related issue. (yes, I know that’s happening…and we should talk) Those behaviors are not welcome at our church.

Instead, we encourage intentional face-to-face conversations that clear up our frustrations and resolve our differences. (as the Bible prescribes) At Kinetic, we value “Unity & Truth Telling” and will champion that cause whole heartedly. It’s even listed as one of the seven core values of our church. Here’s how we officially state it:

We expect every member of Kinetic Church to protect and promote unity in the church. Knowing that disunity hinders our mission, we will commit to truthfully and lovingly working out our differences as the Bible instructs.

That was the point of this post.

Thank you for your spirited and honest discussion. And thank you for being gracious with me.

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