Until recently, the concept of Christian rock was an oxymoron to me. Totally. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered there were actually radio stations that play this kind of music.
In my previous job, I used to travel a lot, and I would often ride with my co-worker, Mike, who listened to The Word FM. As soon as he would turn the radio on in the car, my heart would sink. I really disliked the music a lot, but I would say nothing and keep my opinion to myself.
Instead, I would pray for one of our phones to ring so he would have to turn the radio off. Or, I would pretend to check voice mail and ask him to turn the radio down. Or, I would try to make loud conversation so that our voices would drown out the radio altogether. All of this eventually became too much work, so finally one day, I was honest with him. Even though he didn't fully understand, Mike changed the radio station.
When I paid my first visit this past summer to the contemporary service at FPC, I knew there would be a live band on stage, The Oasis Collective, leading worship with Christian rock. I was prepared to dislike the music, but I also knew there would be more to the service than just that. My preparation, however, was in vain because I was captivated, not only by the music, but by this collective of people.
I distinctly remember my first impression of the collective members as being sincere. They play, sing, and speak with such conviction while reaching out to the congregation to join them, as if we are as important to them as they are to us.
As far as sound quality goes, I'm not a musician, nor am I a music critic, and this is not a review, but it's very obvious how rich they sound, how talented, balanced, and solid they are, and oh, those drums! Credit also has to be given to the sound mixing, not to mention the lighting, and the simply-stated yet very cool backdrop.
On stage and off, they are never performing; they are just being themselves. Sometimes a collective member will speak just a few short sentences between songs. It is clear that those words are coming from the heart.
Their words and actions make me feel like they are my friends, despite having known none of them, not even their names. Over time, I did learn some of their names, and I found them to be approachable, humble, and kind.
At the end of every contemporary service, one collective member stands in the lobby behind the CD table. As a newcomer to FPC, that member became a go-to person for me whenever I had a question, and that member could not have been more friendly and happy to help me if he or she tried.
For all of these reasons, it was because of The Oasis Collective that I couldn't get some of the contemporary worship songs out of my head. Week after week, I would try to remember song titles so that I could download the songs at home. When I couldn't remember the titles, the collective was happy to oblige. I really liked this music, but I didn’t know what to make of it.
I spent weeks trying to figure out why it took The Oasis Collective to convert me to a fan of Christian rock, and as I stood there one Sunday, getting swept away in the music they played and in the way they played it, I had my answer. I get swept away. I get taken to a place of true worship. I become focused on God and all that He is through each song. It is one very powerful hour of my weekend, and it is pure.
There is a lot of Christian rock on my iPod now, and sometimes I listen to The Word FM, but even better, The Oasis Collective has made a believer out of me. And I think the next time I see Mike, I'm going to tell him that he would love The Oasis Collective. Totally!
About the Author
Katie McDonald has been attending FPC-Bethlehem since the first day of summer 2015, and the experience has been so profound, she writes about it. She likes the Bethlehem Press newspaper, musical theatre, tennis, the art of brainstorming, and the exception to the rule. She dislikes long intros in books, music, and otherwise. Enough said ;-)