(Photo: The Church at Clarendon)
A Virginia church took a unique approach to worship Sunday morning when it swapped out its band with a Christian DJ in an experimental worship service called "Church Remixed."
The idea for the unorthodox worship service was a collaboration between Stephen Taylor, community minister for The Church at Clarendon in Arlington, Va., and Hans Daniels, an Atlanta DJ who performs under the name DJ Hans Solo.
Taylor and Daniels, who share a passion for electronic dance music, met each other last year at a Memorial Day party while Taylor was in the Atlanta area visiting relatives, the minister told The Christian Post. They kept in touch, and over time the idea of using a DJ in a worship service grew into a reality.
"He would post a song that was kind of a sort of electronic, beat-driven type worship song and then I would be all over it, sending him feedback, giving him ideas…Over a year, it just sort of simmered between us and we kept feeding off each other," said Taylor.
Daniels played a blend of contemporary Christian and secular music both before and after the service Sunday, Taylor says. He was joined on stage by one of the church's praise singers during the service, and the songs he played weren't altogether unfamiliar to the congregation. He played a version of "Blessed Be Your Name," for example, but it was unique in that it was mixed with "Praise You" by secular artist Fatboy Slim and "Around the World" by Daft Punk.
Taylor says his church is attended by many young people who are familiar with the hip-hop culture.
"They never get to hear music that is their style of music at church," he said. "And so I just really felt like I was trying to advocate on behalf of them to have something that they would like."
The Church at Clarendon used to have separate traditional and contemporary services, but now has one blended service each Sunday morning. The worship team at the church uses rock instruments, Taylor says, but will often play hymns in a more contemporary style.
But Taylor says it seems the contemporary church in general has gotten "stuck" on using rock bands for worship, and he wonders what the next popular form of musical worship will be. Jesus Christ can use elements of all cultures to spread the gospel, he says, including different expressions of worship.
"As someone in the ministry, I would encourage churches out there to consider this as a very cost-effective, very effective, viable alternative to live musicians," he said.
Daniels told CP he used to lead worship with a guitar, but he found his passion and talent in being a DJ. He works as a full-time DJ, playing at weddings and other events, and has been a music producer for more than a decade.
He is now actively looking for opportunities to play during other worship services, he says, and hopes to also connect with other DJs who are interested in doing the same. He thinks using DJs for worship could become popular with churches in both the U.S. and abroad.
"I'm surprised it hasn't been done already," he said.