Wish you had more guitar players on your worship team? An FCA church in Red Deer, Alberta, has opted to do more than wish. They decided to grow their own musicians through a 10-week training club called “Guitar Church” that meets for two hours on Saturday mornings. And in the process, they’ve created a unique outreach to the community.
“Ages vary from 12 to 67,” says Tom Cameron, worship pastor at Living Stones Church. “We get everything from goth rockers to country ‘n western retirees. They all just want to learn to play better. And we show them how to use their ability to worship God.”
The program is now moving into its third season and attracts as high as 100 learners at a time. Occasionally, big-name players are brought in to give special instruction, such as Doug Doppler (the real hero of the famous Guitar Hero games), Jay Calder (Canada’s equivalent to Phil Keaggy), and in the near future, Glenn Kaiser of Rez Band fame from Chicago. When Rick Derringer (“Hang On, Sloopy”) came to teach last May, four people in the audience gave their lives to Christ that day. The local newspaper carried a feature on Derringer’s 1997 conversion; see
The Guitar Church program is available to other churches as well. Visit http://www.guitarchurch.com for details. Another FCA church in Alberta, McMurray Gospel Assembly, has already signed on to start its own club this fall.
“This effort has definitely brought people into our church,” says Living Stones Church senior pastor Paul Vallee. “It’s a great way to connect with today’s population.” Tom Cameron adds, “Guitar Church is a method of felt-need evangelism. In our culture today, if Guitar Church can be seen as a fishnet, we have seen it catch lots of fish for God.”
Photo: Guitar Church learners surround guest clinician Andrew Bartley (bottom center in light shirt) and host pastor Tom Cameron (black t-shirt with guitar, to Bartley’s left).