Pastor spreading message through musicBobby Bovell, pastor and musician, on stage. (Guest Picture)
By Lisa King | Mon, September 24, 2012 - 12:00 AM
The church needs to connect with people where they are rather than where it thinks they ought to be.
This is the view of pastor and musician Bobby Bovell, who has been using a variety of music genres to minister the Word of God.
Bovell said the distance between the church and the people had led people to think the church was no longer relevant as it did not speak to their everyday lives.
He has preached all over the world and is an ordained minister in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Bovell said the church needed to be close to God but also to the culture, and he believes music was one way of getting the message to people.
He said it was really important in terms of society and letting people know that they were part of something bigger and more important.
Breakdown in family
The pastor noted that many people were talking about the breakdown of the family and the connection between older and younger generations.
“In the past the church has been where all the generations met, but now that more and more people are not interested in church, you find there is less of a connection to each other.”
He added that when there was less of a connection between people in a culture, problems arose because people did not see each other as brother and sister any more.
“They just see each other as another person, so ‘I can do whatever I want to you’,” he explained.
Bovell, whose father is Barbadian-born reggae music producer Dennis Bovell, has been involved in music all his life and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in music and a Master of Theology to his name. He also plays guitar and other instruments.
He said that music had always been part “of our cultural contribution to the world and is therapy for us sometimes; it is an escape when things are tough, encourages us and stops us from giving up”.
Bovell believes people outside the church will listen to it and get the message it sends.
He called it a way of showing God’s love that allows the church to connect with people without seemingly banging them over the head with the message of Christianity.
He said the church also needed to come out of its building and do more social things with a spiritual foundation – things that would show people why church was important.
Bovell released a musical album last year, The Emergent EcleKtic, featuring various genres not traditionally associated with gospel.
Connected to culture
“It has no choirs or big organ-based music or hymns. I used music that is connected to our culture as black people, such as reggae, soul and hip hop,” said Bovell, who was nominated last year for a Music Of Black Origin, or MOBO, Award.
He mentioned Rosie, a song from the album about someone who comes into a church environment but everything is not “rosy” for her, she still struggles with things in life that she is trying to work out.
“I wanted to tell a real story; not one where it is all polished up and you get the impression that once this person comes to church, they never do anything wrong or that it is all perfect, but that it is a process someone goes through and [about] the faithfulness of God, that He does not give up on us.”
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