Holly T. Ashley

Oh did I type that outloud?

Would Holy and Reverent please return to the building…. You are desperately needed.

We left in plenty of time… I was thinking that since we lived 20 minutes further north than when I grew up, we would need at least 45 minutes to get there… even with the new highway and all.

The scenery has changed so much.

I haven’t really gone down that way in what seems like a million years, but wow, what a difference a decade…. Or two? Makes.

The horse properties are all gone, replaced with tar and white lines, outlining the parking spaces of empty buildings, thrift stores and apartments.

The parking lot was empty. I was shocked. I had waited so long to come back to visit…. and here I thought we’d be late… we certainly weren’t early!

I remember it back then, when I attended NPBC (North Phoenix Baptist Church) it was considered to be the northern most part of Phoenix, right before you entered into the Sunny slope area beyond that was prestigious Moon Valley, followed by…. Uh…

Well, followed by… places to ride our horses and dirt bikes.

To the south and west was the splendor of multi-million dollar estates and to the east the Estates of Biltmore and homes of the Phoenix “elite” judges, politicians and of course the Wrigley’s.

I loved driving

NPBC old

to and from church and seeing the beauty of that part of town. At the time, NPBC was the 3rd largest church in the country – the largest in AZ.

To enter the grounds of North Phoenix Baptist church – a sprawling 40 acre parcel of land…

Was to enter worship.

Never did I attend a Sunday morning service dressed in flat shoes, pants let alone shorts, like are worn today. (And I’m not condemning, I have succumb to wearing capri’s.)

I sang in the Choir, where we had to practice until we reached perfection as determined by one of the greatest musical minds ever – Mr. Forbes Woods, followed by the best composer and musician ever- Richard Hooton. (Not that I don’t mean to mention the others who followed…. who hold their own in awesomeness, I am sure).

But lord help us all… if we acted out or too much gaming was going on – and Pastor Jackson came in – we were dead. And we knew it.. all he had to do was peak his bald head around the corner… and


At the sight of Dr. Jackson in the Choir room, you could hear a pin drop as we all came to immediate order. (It was like he knew every single one of us and who our parents were).

We dressed in robes – we sat according to size and tone – and there was no switching either. If you did not like the rules, you were free to leave and no one… that I can ever remember… left.

We simply complied.

Respect. ? Yes. We did. And we expected it from each other as well. We spent each Sunday morning, Sunday night, Monday night (Outreach), Wednesday night (fellowship dinner followed by worship) and then each Friday we would meet at someone’s home for Bible Study… when we were not attending a service – most likely we could be found at each other’s home’s with whoever had the latest in the “BETA” VCR… or new fangled “Atari” game…

We had a “bar” that we raised and we held it high.

When it came time for church, we sat in the choir loft in silence. Not a word we would speak – and our holiday specials were mesmerizing. The lyrics were sung with heart and worship.

We auditioned for solos – they weren’t just handed out to the “next in line.” This was something that had to be perfection – after all people were coming to hear us that needed Jesus. There was no room for error. We sang to the Glory of God and to Him was all honor, glory and blessing.

We did not call our elders by their first names. We called our elders by their respected… earned names: Dr. Jackson, Pastor Green….. Mr. and Mrs. Miller… “Hooton.”

When… back then… would enter the sanctuary on a Sunday morning, we sat with our parents. If you had small children you took them OUT. There were people there “who needed to be saved and there were to be no distractions….” I cannot remember how many times I heard that from the pulpit.

The men down front… in the first two rows… Those were the Deacons. They did not smoke or drink. They took an oath, and they were always in a blue or black suit and tie.

They would do offering and everyone was on cue – they all began at the same time, did the same thing, served the same way, and they ended at the very same time. They never missed a beat.


When we participated in the Lord’s Supper – it was an event.

Everything was in sync it was practiced, well-rehearsed and well executed….

And it was reverent. The message was spectacular, the music was amazing… the lighting was dimmed, and you could feel the Holy Spirit move through the building. It was Holy. It was convicting – and their were many times, I just had to go to my knees before participating.

But today, as I walked up the walk way, I noticed the gravel and rocks that had replaced the once spectacularly manicured lawns…

Once inside there was a bookstore – I remembered our library back in the day – I checked out many books – but I don’t remember every buying books… Even those written by Dr. Jackson…

The pews have now been replaced by stadium seating and there is no more choir loft… just bleachers. (They have a choir in the earlier “traditional” service, I understand)…

The once spell-binding orchestra pit had been covered by a very large stage, filled with Connie Waddell’s grand piano… but she was not there – she too is in the other service….

I could see Rick Hooton in my mind holding my legs as I sang a very rare solo… (I used to move a lot when I sang – not well respected by Baptist standards)… but he has been gone a long time too.

As we took our seats, I realized that the balconies had been curtained off and the side seating, where as a high school student I spent my Sunday and Wednesday nights… was empty as well.

I took a quick inventory of the room… maybe I would catch a glimpse of someone from days gone by…

But all I could see were: Flip flops, short-shorts, and tank tops… (Maybe it is different in the “traditional” service).

Really? We show more respect for our favorite sports teams – heading to watch a game, we spend more time (and money) getting dressed then we do for church!

What has happened to us? Why has this become ok? Why are there two completely different services? Do we not serve to honor the same Holy God? Is this not the “Sabbath,” are we not ALL called to ‘Keep the Sabbath Holy?”

And then there were the kids – as a matter of fact in a blink of an eye my husband and I were surrounded by teenagers with my husband and me as the only adults in our section… we soon realized why.

“Where are your parents?” I thought… “Shut up…” was the next thought… Remembering the time, back in the day when Nancy Miller turned around to me and said, “Holly, do you know where you are?”

Mother… friend’s mother… woman I never knew… it didn’t matter, I shut my mouth.

As the musicians came to the stage – my mind flashed back to the NPBC alter of my day…

Whatever happened to that altar?

The beautiful steps, the grand entrance to the pulpit – where the anointed pastors and shepherds would be seated, all in their suits and ties… those grandiose chairs!

Hey… I thought…. As I looked up – where did those organ pipes go? That organ was amazing….

But the bright lights caught my attention back to the tatted up guitar player with the Mohawk and the other performers on the stage led by the female worship leader.

I waited anxiously – the band was great. The chick on stage was good too – it’s just hard for me to be led in “worship” by a woman… I find that unbiblical…

but there was no worship….

There was a lot of loud music, clothing and artwork…. And that has it’s place – in a Praise band down on Mill or at a church camp getting the kids ready to worship…. but there’s gotta be some WORSHIP!

There were a lot of people “making statements,” there was a lot of “praise” – “God is good,” “God is compassionate…” “God is mercy…” “Jesus died for me…. Because He loves me.”

Jesus had to die for us… because we are worthless wretches… how about that?! When does that part come in?

There is something to be said about “A wretch like me,” “The old rugged cross,” even some of the newer worship songs don’t make it to the new stages of our churches – “Lead me to the cross…. Where I lay me down… bring me to my knees…”

That would have been cool…

It was hard to determine the pastor from anyone else in the building… They use his first name. “Pastor Jason,” which now most churches do. He was in jeans and a t-shirt, like most church Pastors are now… (I understand he also wears a suit at the “traditional” service…)

We did communion – where it was nothing short of chaotic – no one knew who was serving whom… and one guy must have woke up from his theater chair ½ way through as to literally – jump into action…

The young girl in front of me almost got a slap on the head for munching on her cracker for the next 15 minutes…

It was a fine sermon… about “cleaning out the temple.”

Which made me think about maybe it’s time we start cleaning out ours.

What have we become when we have lowered the bar with no standard of Holiness? Or we have two bars – one called “Traditional” the other we lower to that of a limbo bar and call it “Contemporary.”

We don’t take time to present ourselves anymore – we don’t even wear our “Sunday best” anymore… Well… of course there’s that “traditional…”


When Solomon built the temple it was gorgeous! The finest was used! We treat our temple-churches to be something more “seeker-friendly,” and our Temple-body as a grunge-look, “don’t wanna offend a broth’a… or sist’a…” Oh Come ON!

What about offending your Holy God?

What about the “Older teaching the younger…” part of the Bible… when does that happen? How do the roads of “traditional and contemporary” cross?

Look… I realize it’s the heart that matters most– not the outer appearance – and you don’t throw pearls at swine – but does that mean we have to jump into the pigsty?

Our churches are empty – because we are no different than they are – our proverbial bar isn’t any higher than what the world has to offer –

The only we don’t do is serve beer, wine and cigars with our little “pulpit pep-talks” and “rock-star revivals.”

What have we become?

I am so sick of people telling me about how Jesus meets us “where we are at”

Yeah… but you can’t stay there! The Bible calls us to “Walk worthy…”

What is Jesus worth?

Is there a “Traditional” and “Contemporary” Heaven? Did I miss that part of the Bible – or are we re-writing that?

When we take reverence and holiness out of our sanctuary – we got nothing.

Back in the day – we (the youth) were on fire for Jesus. That 1980’s group of young men and women fought for Jesus. We were there every time the doors were opened. We were on mission – and brought our neighborhood with us.

We held events and went into the streets with flyers inviting everyone around. That was our “Contemporary” service! It was separate! It never took away from worship! Never did it take away from the Sabbath!

But then we took showers, got dressed, did our make-up and hair and then went to the event!

And we sang – and we played – hard… and loud!

We rocked the house – but we also knew when the lights went down- and the music softened it was time to remember the Holy God Almighty and His blessed, reverent, Son – Jesus Christ our Lord.

And we did it all in style – we were different. We were set apart.

What has happened to us?

I’m not saying that Dr. Jackson, and his crew were anything “special” I know… I was there – We all have something…

The point is that when we stepped into the sanctuary it was about Jesus – we were in His house…

And we met Him where He was at… or at least we made an attempt.

Holy, Holy, Holy. Lord God Almighty.

Revive us again.

23 comments on “Would Holy and Reverent please return to the building…. You are desperately needed.

  1. Brandon Moser
    May 16, 2014

    I grew up at NPBC. I spent my youth years at NPBC and I was one of those young men on fire for Jesus. I was there Sunday morning, Sunday night, Monday outreach, Wednesday Solid Rock and any other day the Youth Group was doing something. I was a youth deacon. I’ll be the first to say that I miss the NPBC of the 80s and the overall culture. However, it wasn’t without it’s warts. Where did the warts come from? Conservative, man-made preferences.

    1. When my parents got divorced in 1983, I was 12. Once that spread throughout the church, a few of the “conservative” parents of my friends wouldn’t let me go to their house anymore. As if I was tainted and may spread the divorce bug to their family. When my father left my home permanently, I needed my friends more than ever. But divorce was looked at as sin not only with the adults, but for some reason with the kids. My status in the church, although only 12 years old, took a drop and I was a lonely outcast with my then group of friends.

    2. In high school, it was evident that there was a significant class system. Nobody wanted to admit it, because, come on, it is church. But, with the youth, unless you went to Phoenix Christian High School, you were considered less GODLY than others. Public school kids? Ick. And regardless of how much you served the Lord, unless your last name was Shillington or another royal family in the church, nobody recognized it…of course other than the Lord.

    3. My stepfather was a deacon and worked for the Baptist Foundation, made up of other deacons. Do your homework on the leader of The Baptist Foundation and how Godly that organization was run and learn about it’s ultimate demise. Once my stepfather spoke up about it, he was ostracized.

    I tell you these things not to bag on 1980s NPBC. I LOVE, adore, 1980s NPBC although I felt that a lot of the time it didn’t love me back. I tell you this because I believe the church isn’t the powerhouse it used to be because everyone lost their way. They believed that going to church was the way, not leading Godly lives. That looking like a Christian was more important than being a Christian. That pretending to not drink, smoke, and wearing suits to NPBC was what made them holy. I saw less and less tolerance for others. I had flashbacks when you mentioned that it’s unbibilical for a woman to lead worship. You even had hints of racial insensitivity with the “sistah and broth-a” comment you had. I’m not saying you’re a racist, so don’t interpret it like that. But, you know who COULD interpret it like that? African Americans who are seeking the Lord but see those insensitivities and lack of tolerance instead.

    Sure, kids get rambunctious. They did in the 80s too. I was called out in evening service TWICE by Pastor Jackson by being disruptive in the side balcony. That happened a lot with kids. Still does. Now (maybe it’s payback) as a youth minister, I have to settle down the loud, crazy kids!

    Our job is not to judge. Our job is to accept everyone. Even those who have…yikes…tattoos. They are to come as they are. We are to love them like they are our family. If we don’t have that love for them, it turns them AWAY from God, not towards him.

    I am a servant minister at Central Christian Church. I wear shorts in the summer. Occasionally, the tattoo of my wife and children’s name peaks out of my short sleeves. We rock out with our hymns. As much as I still adore “Amazing Grace”, it’s “10,000 Reasons” or “Blessed Be Your Name” that gets the majority of the church in the mood to really, truly worship him.

    Times are changing, and not necessarily for the bad. Let’s not sugarcoat some of those things that, in my opinion, destroyed NPBC. As much as I am with you in longing for the days of old, we can’t let it interfere with how we lead people to Jesus. If it’s loud music, shorts on Sunday and tattoos, if it’s leading people to the Lord, I say, let’s do it.

    Brandon Moser
    NPBC 1978-1991

  2. Holly T. Ashley
    May 18, 2014

    Brandon… You, I am sure are a very nice guy. You are tolerant, obviously afraid to offend anyone – so I am sure that you felt “led” to give me your Joel Osteen best… and he would be proud. The disciples… yeah, not so much.

    In regards to your “points”…. Wah! We all have a story dude. Get over it. You obviously have not done your homework on me… or you would have not even added those points to begin with…

    But, once again – this article is not about THE CHURCH NPBC! If you want to read about how I feel about a particular church – I suggest you read my blog on IMPACT church.

    I could care less about your days of old… any more than I do about mine – I was making a point, that you OBVIOUSLY missed.

    I, on the other hand, will stick to my post and add that even “Jo O” not to be confused with Ms. “O” feel the need to dress their respectful “parts” of their particular brand of leadership… and their “all roads lead to heaven” bull… that is sweeping the nation… world…

    You have taken my words and twisted them, as most “can’t we all just get along” tolerant deviants from Biblical truth do…

    So – let me reiterate – in summation: The “Church” is weak. We are disrespectful, irreverent and take more time getting ready for a dead man’s funeral than we do to celebrate the Life of our Savior –
    So… take that however you want.

    I Could care less what a sinner wears to church – but I DO INDEED care what a saint wears! Don’t you dare tell me that those of us who are called should deny the command to “walk worthy of the call to which you have been called.” That is represented in EVERYTHING we do, what we wear, how we speak, etc.

    and your right – living a lie is wrong – now instead of “pretending” to be good by not drinking, swearing, whatever – we DO IT ALL… and glorify it! All in the name of “We’re all sinners…”

    yeah… but SOME of us are SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST… we look different, we act different, there is a reverence we have for our Savior….

    GOT IT?!

    Probably not…

    And to call me – or even suggest that I’m a racist… tells me that you obviously have no idea what you are talking about because you most certainly have not done your homework on the author (me)…

    And if you think i’m baggin on people with Tat’s – you haven’t met my husband! Who just increased his numerous ink with a full-back BEAUTY of the cross (you can see it on our Facebook page – it is the LOGO)… He also hits the streets to preach in shorts and a T….

    And you have NO clue who I am- or the music I sing… really, you should have done your homework…

    You’ve missed the point – as do most other ” Let’s just co-exist” tolerants out there who worship the world rather than THE Lord.

    Also – if you don’t feel that it is INDEED our job as Christians to “Judge” then you need to go back to Paul’s epistles and tell him a few things… because that is EXACTLY what we do as disciples of Christ – Not “judge” as in cast Judgement in guilty or innocent (that has been done and we know it by their fruit) – But we are to yank a brother back – BEFORE we even begin to witness to the Lost and how do we do that? WE JUDGE THEIR BEHAVIOR, motives and attitudes!

    You are the person in my post, YOU are the one I wrote about – you are complacent and need to repent and allow Christ to reignite the flame that is the Holy Spirit and get out and RAISE THE BAR!

  3. Gordon McGuire
    May 18, 2014

    Holly, It is so nice to hear someone at least try to start the needed discussion about whorsotainment,,, as I call it. Some whip blended mix of attempted worship anchoring itself thru pop entertainment methods. I do like the messages that the new preacher brings. Somehow though “Pastor Jason” seems to have a need to convince everyone they base their lives from a set of preconceived of humanistic values only he seems to know and/or hold close to his walk. The difference in his approach toward worship is one of trying to keep up with these new churches that come and go quickly. As if he has no knowledge of the roots it took to be able to afford the price it took to bring him here,, sorry,,, I mean for God to lead him to this work. He now has the base of those efforts getting up early and coming for a “modern” time for “traditional” worship. Yes I can understand how displacing the weak and old has always been successful in the past for the rest of the world but it is truly not appreciated at NPBC.
    One of the reasons I’m so willing to openly speak about these matters is due to a lot of guest speakers and or performers tell me about sitting thru and politely listening to him tell his little sad tales of wow about parishioners offering advice that goes against his personal desires,,, again sorry,,, against the direction he feels the Lord is leading him in “today”,,, like he showed up uninvited to the church under God’s direction to take this job with or with out compensation….
    Then there are times a plenty that I feel as though I must be the only one to ever read this thought and truly expect it to happen.

    1 Corinthians 5:11-13

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    11 But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person.

    12 What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]?

    13 God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].

    And in that thought is the true reason NPBC suffers so much now. I was not and still am not any fan of Richard Jackson. I watched staff members come and go the whole time I worked under my father at NPBC. If a decent, God fearing man came on staff it was just a short matter of time before they would be told to move on or just be fired. Almost every time. There are a few exceptions to what I observed. Take John Shillington. I kept wondering when they would notice what a true man of God he is and get rid of him. Thankfully he is still there. Jackson is guilty of many offenses to the church and almost anything else he touched. I tend to think like many do in that the way you do anything is the way you do everything. To me thru observation that holds true a very large percentage of the time and I’m sure that my observations skills are to blame when it doesn’t or the person is a magnificent liar. Back to Jackson with that in mind. His method of operation is displayed best when looking at the facts surrounding my father’s work history at NPBC. After Jackson found out about my father having an affair with his secretary Joy Diamond the preacher didn’t bring it forward and try to resolve it in a godly fashion. Jackson knew he had my father Darrell McGuire under his thumb and proceeded to make this college dropout, military service evader the Minister of Finance. So for 14 years my father and Joy lived lies while in the church staff at NPBC propagating dishonesty and perversion.
    There are so many more lives that failed with Jackson’s type of guidance I could go into but will not right now but, it easy to see that “Pastor Jason” has an easy road to success ahead of him no matter which way he steps,,, it’s just a matter of who he is stepping on. The thought of “how one does anything is how one does everything” can be shown thru scriptures to be correct. So the way one steps on people is the same way he steps on God,,, once again sorry,,, I mean the way one feels toward fellow worshipers is the way one feels toward God could be a valid part of the way one’s walk with Christ is perceived. That should be a part of the discussion you want to begin.
    All my best to you and your lucky hubby!!! Talk to you guys later.

    • Holly T. Ashley
      May 19, 2014

      “Let there be nothing covered that will not be revealed…” this scripture is listed so many times in the Bible, it is almost ridiculous that it is ignored so much!
      And yes, the “church” is who is responsible for calling one another out.

    • Beth
      September 3, 2017

      My husband, a recording engineer for a Christian radio network, calls it “worshiptainment” but I think he would like your term better.

  4. David Ashley
    May 19, 2014

    HEY PEOPLE WAKE UP, THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ABOUT NPBC, it is addressing the decline of the evangelical christian church in the USA. I applaud Holly for her honesty and her heart to start a fire in us all to “test ourselves”. “examine ourselves” to see if we have let culture dictate our worship, our hearts, but most of all has our culture dictated our God????? Never before in the history of the Church has their seemed to be “so few” on this narrow way. The way most Christians are living shows no reverence for a Holy God. This generation of believers is responsible for this generation of unbelievers. True Christianity is never popular Christianity! True Christianity is accepted by few and rejected by many. True Christianity is an abhorrence to the flesh, devil and the world. True Christianity is a Cross! Death to self! Crucifixion to the world! But we want it easy a salvation and Gospel that does not hurt us or crucifies us. We want a Gospel that is catered to man and his interests. Shame on us.
    Holly is making the point that there was a time, back in the day, where one didn’t let culture dictate, where one had reverence and respect for the church because it was holy ground, there was a time when you actually “feared of the Lord” you bowed in awe, and humility at His feet because He is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY. That was lost and it started in the culture, was adapted by the pulpit and now has infected the church body. God is perfect in His holiness, justice and His love and we are wretched sinners in need of a Savior, if we take that too lightly we will burn in HELL.. Get serious about the unbelievers, get serious about the Bible, get serious about church. God is going to get the attention of us. He is going to shake “everything that can be shaken.” We should be on our face brothers and sisters. Great times of shaking are coming.

    • Beth
      September 3, 2017


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  8. J Jones
    August 15, 2016

    Is this how to show love to one another? Find a church that fits you. Leave Bible-teaching churches out of your public criticisms. They reach people that you cannot.

    • Holly T. Ashley
      September 5, 2016

      This is love. That we hold one another accountable to only preaching the Gospel of Christ.

  9. Micheal
    December 14, 2016

    I read your article thinking the same thoughts . I agree with you. What has happened to NPBC? It’s a disgrace. They sold the organ to pay the bills, they rent out the chapel to makes ends meat, use curtains to block off the sanctuary, made a movie theater, and the pulpit looks like a stage, the old men wearing tattoos and piercings with orange hair playing rock is not for me. And to make matters worse there are two of the biggest Televisions screens I have ever seen, and also those big dark colored speakers that droop down is awful…I was so saddened to see this….the Sunday crowd was maybe 500…or less…I won’t go back…I visited NPBC this time after 26 years….it’s a shame…I think at the rate the fools who are ruining the place it will close down within a few years..

  10. Junior Seago
    June 30, 2017

    All I can say is, I liked it the other way better. I knew that Sunday was going to be something altogether different than anything else I had seen or heard that week. It was “holy.” It was special. It was real. The Church has lost its strength and significance in the culture by trying to become like the culture – an endless never ending game. Ever been to a smaller church where the Praise Band, in an effort to sound as good as the band who played the Sat. night concert the night before at the local arena, aren’t even close and so they come off as “wanna be’s.”? Trust me those churches are beginning to wonder what have they done? Another thing, Funny…… ever notice the one part of a church service that has never changed? The sermon. In 1975, the preacher got up about half way through, stood on the stage and gave a sermon for about 30-45 min, then gave an invitation and then we left. In 2017, in churches all across the country that is still the exact same. I find it that odd. Pastors have kept their gig. Music Ministers should have kept their’s and we were wrong to allow our church leaders to let them go. Corporate Choral Singing is Biblical. It is the antithesis of the Sunday morning “rock star.” Check out how many times the word “choir” and “choir director” are written in the Bible, you know that Book that Southern Baptists call Inherent? I expect before long we will have tired of the fads and will go back to Biblical Worship, pull the pipe organ out of the garbage (truly appalling) and put the choir robes back on. That was there because there are Biblical instructions with deep spiritual significance which call for those things But what is WASN’T based on was the fad of the day or whether or not it fit people’s individuals tastes and preferences. It was Biblical and it was better. It was us demonstrating what it means to be in the world, but not of the world…. It was Church.

  11. Beth
    September 3, 2017

    So many thoughts! I attended in 1984-88. GCU student.

    +I remember being so impressed with the fact that Pastor Jackson interrupted his televised sermon to suddenly point his finger in the balcony and say, “Now, Johnny Smith (or whatever his name was), you know better than that. Settle down.” Yes, decorum was expected.

    + Our church in Chicago is suffering the same demise. Just 10 years ago, glorious triumphant music and attention to detail and precision turned into slapdash, sloppy, jazz band. I am not a critic of modern music used within the church. Just the intent of the heart. We have totally lost our way in trying to emulate the world. Teens are falling away from faith by the 1000’s because the world offers them the same thing without the cross.

    +Entertainment is our new religion of choice. It is a way of escape. It is such an emotional thing. No wonder we think of it as worship. Yes, we have the palpitations, the thoughts of God, the tears, the memories, the thoughts of God, the goosebumps on the back of the neck – I MUST BE WORSHIPING! No, you are being entertained with thoughts of God. If you were really worshiping, if all the people who claim they have been worshiping the last 20 years who have just been moved emotionally, can you believe the revival that would happen in our nation and world. Oh, yes, I forgot! it IS happening in other countries. Countries who have no sound system, flashing lights, fog, but nations of persecuted house churches where people sing acapella and sing memorized songs without hearing the latest on the radio.

    +I found this blog post by searching out my old church online hoping to find a true worship service while I am home sick in bed. It is getting increasingly harder to find what I am looking for. Genuine church. I think Francis Chan had the right idea. So back to the basics. Dump the huge church.

    +About 10 years ago I discovered how hundreds of thousands of young people are searching for real church and discovered Reformed church and liturgy. What did they discover? Why was that better for them? I invited two college student ladies and one guy to my family church in Oklahoma – another that has two services. They all declined saying they preferred the traditional service but it met too early for them. Now, the mom in me would say, “Well, then get out of bed and go,” but the practical one in me said, “Then why wouldn’t the church switch the service times? They are not reaching their target congregant.”

    +I had no idea about the scandal that Pastor Jackson covered up. I don’t know all the details but I can’t believe that he would have done something underhanded. We may never know until Glory what really took place. I know that individuals are faulty, but the church as a body needs to be healthy if we all work together in biblical harmony.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me vent.

  12. Holly T. Ashley
    September 3, 2017

    Beth, you are spot on.

  13. D
    January 28, 2018

    I currently live on Central and Indian School Rd. I’m 41 . My Grandmother Helen Flowers Rip was one of the original members of that church. She was in the choir and taught Bible study there for a very long time. I am also a member since 1987 when we moved from California. We use to visit my grandma every year in summer for a week before we moved here. So I was going there since the late 70s. I remember those days with Pastor Jackson VERY well. I know exactly what you are talking about. Unfortunately those days the best days are long gone. When I think about it it almost brings tears to my eyes. When I want to go back to church there and I do alot. I start hurting because I know it will be just a step back in time to be there again then reality will set in fast and realize just were I am. Somewere very unholy . Btw I was also a RA member and took martial arts with sinsey Richardson. Very involved. 🙂

  14. rpsabq (@rpsabqq)
    June 17, 2018

    Well, all I can say is the other way, for whatever reason, was not sustainable. As we got into the 90’s the choir started sounding, well… bad. People stopped committing to choir rehearsal and the music changed too, remember? These big, bombastic pieces that just took such a large number of very talented singers that we just didn’t have anymore. It was the days of David Clydesdale and Sandi Patti and who can top that? It was the days of Living Christmas Trees and Broadway type mulit-night musical extravaganzas. It drained the church to do that every year in time, resources and money. It’s our own fault. Somewhere we lost our way. The organ was fabulous, but it became extremely difficult to find someone really good to play the darned the thing every week – and substitutes? forget it. As a result the organ, played by anyone who simply knew a keyboard, started sounding boring and stale. Somewhere along the way we got lazy, we forgot what it really took to be effective and good. So they cancelled us. Ripped out the organ, removed the choir loft and started something different. What’s hard for people to understand is that churches in America are businesses run by a group of democratic committees dependent solely on large numbers of people to freely donate their money. Therefore, with any business it has to change with the culture in order to exist and that culture became disenchanted by average sounding church choirs and poorly played organs. Right or wrong, we just have to give the benefit of the doubt that they did what they had to do and what the majority of people wanted to do at the time in order to survive. And we can shed a tear and long for those “good ole days” and criticize as much as we want to, but the fact is times change and so do the people. The church has no choice but to change right along with them – or close.

  15. Lisa
    December 2, 2019

    Hello Holly, and I thought i was the only one who noticed that NPBC is a shell of itself from the days of Richard Jackson.
    PREFACE: in any organization with thousands of people there are always bad apples. No one can blame Pastor Richard about some of the bad apples during his pastorate.
    1. Now, currently NPBC should be ashamed of itself. The leadership after Pastor Richard left is a disgrace. All the buildings were paid off before Pastor Richard left,
    2. The main worship building has been destroyed and re-done…who was the moron in charge of that change. The organ is gone, the choir is gone…the whole place looks gutted, and those stupid curtains in the back make it feel like some abandoned hotel.
    3. The worship is like a wanna-be socially relevant feel.
    4. I attended when they were doing the Lord’s Supper. I thought it was a buffet…no organization, no reverence what-so-ever.
    5. The whole feel of the service was a “bottom of a basement” acceptance.
    6. I thought it was like entering into a dirty coffee shop with loud electric guitars. What is with those long black speakers that hang all the way down in front of the altar…i guess the altar with the pulpit has been replaced by a stage and semi-pop-rock group.
    8. I remembered walking in and feeling like I was being moved along like cattle thru only two doors that funneled me and my husband into the worship center. I remembered in the 1980,s it was so open, airy, pleasing to the eye, and had a sense of reverence. Now, it feels dark, tight and confusing.
    My husband and I left before the end of the service…as we walked out I could not believe what i walked into.
    9. Attendance was small compared to Pastor Richard Jackson’s leadership. No wonder NPBC cant pay their bills and had to sell the organ and everything else…sad.
    10. Lastly, whoever the leadership was or whoever the board was and is…should be fired!!!

    As my husband and I drove off i said, “DOES PASTOR RICHARD JACKSON KNOW WHAT HAS BECOME OF NPBC???”

    • Beth Swan
      December 2, 2019

      That’s the current trend. And so is the current trend of people leaving churches because of it. We now live in Chicago and attended a historic Bible church here. Majestic and reverent. Small changes made us concerned. Continuing changes made us leave. Our six year old son cried every week because his class was so loud (pop music played loudly to get the kids hyped up – about Jesus, I guess.) and the services became same old pop concert. We now happily attend a small suburban Bible church. I have talked to my nieces and nephew and their friends about their church choices. To a single 20-30 year old, they stay clear of the new trendy churches. Their friends do too. Hopefully, this too shall pass.

      Are Pastor Jackson and “Ol’ Wanda” still around? I’d love to go back to those days. But I’m also happy with where the Lord has led me these years since graduating GCU.

      • Beth Swan
        December 2, 2019

        Hopefully, this too (the trend of entertainment church) will pass, not that the younger generation is finding better choices. Thought I should clarify.

  16. sabatini56
    June 15, 2021

    Your observations about NPBC ring very true. Unfortunately, this is a common characteristic of churches today. I often feel dejected that my regular attendance is no longer regular. But every time I go, I feel sad, empty and eventually angry.

    Reverence, fellowship, are nil.

    I experienced the NPBC you did. No longer in the area, but would be crushed to see what has transpired. That was a different time, a different place, probably never to exist again. I regret that todays generation and their children will not experience the spiritual, reverent, worship that is past.

  17. RAS
    September 26, 2021

    Two or three people have mentioned that the church sold the organ. Simply not true. The organ is still there and still works.

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