Larry Calo entered an elementary school in Glen Rock, N.J., for Sunday services of the Emergence Church, greeted fellow congregants and scanned the room for an open seat. Then he dipped his hand into a glass jar and pulled out a pair of orange PVC foam earplugs.
Before long, an electric guitarist, bass player, drummer and singer were tearing through a roughly 15-minute set featuring parish classics such as “King of My Heart.”
The high volume was a bit much for Mr. Calo, 64 years old, who lost part of his hearing working with heavy machinery. “And I don’t want to lose any more,” he said.
Houses of worship have featured live music for centuries. In recent years many have been plugging into rock-style sound systems and cranking up the volume. The effort to appeal to more and younger churchgoers is splitting opinions—and ears.
Crossroads Church, which has 13 locations in Ohio and Kentucky, declares on its website: “Music brings us all together and closer to God—so we can turn it up to 11,” a nod to a joke from the rock mockumentary “This Is Spinal Tap.”
“Laura Kaiser, 49, attends the Crossroads Church in Mason, Ohio. The music there, she says, is ‘louder than a lawn mower. […] They were going after rock concert levels,’ she says.” (@WSJ A-hed by @estherfung) https://t.co/8NUN2RDWot
— Paul Wood (@woodnwheel) January 25, 2019