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Family church service in Valrico skips the somber hymns and long sermons

Pastor Brian Jones talks to guests about the importance of dedicating their lives to God and bettering themselves at the Sunday Night Remix, at the South Brandon Worship Center.

KRYSTEL KNOWLES | Special to the Times

Pastor Brian Jones talks to guests about the importance of dedicating their lives to God and bettering themselves at the Sunday Night Remix, at the South Brandon Worship Center.


Rocking out to a version of the Desperation Band's Counting on God, 9-year-old Hans Hansen found himself at a Sunday night gathering that he said seemed more like a concert and game night than a church service.

That's just the emotion Pastor Brian Jones aimed for when he created the Sunday Night Remix Church.

Promising a new way to worship for the entire family, the "remix" launched at the South Brandon Worship Center on Jan. 2. The hourlong weekly service incorporates parents and kids in songs, games, videos, motivational anecdotes and prayer. Children dance on stage and members sing along to begin the service.

At the start, Jones tells the children to listen to the "Word of the Night" and when they hear him say it, they are to scream out the word. This activity, part of the service's "Kids in Contact" approach, helps the children stay focused and gives them a chance to be kids.

During the service, Jones also has a child come from the audience and play a game with a chance to win a prize.

Even Chris Thomas, pastor of the South Brandon Worship Center, has gotten involved. He said he attended the Sunday Night Remix Church because he wanted to experience the interactive family service with his six children as a parent, not as a pastor.

When he was a child, Thomas said, pastors didn't often engage with children or teenagers, and they were segmented in different age groups. Thomas says the service provides a new and exciting way to bring adults and children together to worship God.

Jones also delivers an inspirational message for the entire congregation, typically centered on current events. A father of three, Jones said he thinks of his own family when crafting a message that will appeal to both children and parents.

He's mindful of the time.

"We don't want parents looking at their clocks; we don't want kids getting antsy," Jones said. "We're very conscious about that."

The pastor said the concept of the remix service came to him in December 2009 when he was serving at a church in Temple Terrace. With some people wanting to sleep in on Sunday mornings and others wanting the day to spend with family, there was a market for a Sunday night service involving the entire family, Jones said. But the approach didn't work out at that church because of a "lack of resources."

At South Brandon, he found a perfect marriage between his vision and what the church sought for a Sunday night service.

"It took off pretty quickly," said Jones, 31. "Everybody has really liked it so far."

Jones has been a worship pastor for 12 years. He was saved at the age of 18 when his future wife, Sheila, brought him to church because her father was a pastor.

"Sheila opened my eyes and heart to God and I feel blessed he chose me to pass on his word," Jones said.

Times staff writer Ernest Hooper contributed to this report.

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Family church service in Valrico skips the somber hymns and long sermons 01/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2011 3:30am]
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