Friday, December 29, 2006
Does Anybody Besides Me See The Irony Here?
.I spoke in a casual contemporary service that reflected the gravitational pull of Willow Creek, only a half an hour away.As I read that I could not help but think of all the lectures I had received over the years abot how worship had to be made "more accessible" so that Joe-off-the-street could walk in and not be threatened -- and yet -- this poor child found a contemporary worship service as foreign a land as everyone told me such a person would find the more traditional "high" worship I love and cherish.
After the Sunday service, Janet told me that Gina had been quietly asking her questions throughout the event. She wanted to know where the worship band played the rest of the week, why the building didn?t look more like a church (it was multi-purpose), what are the song lyrics doing on the screen, why the auditorium had chairs rather than pews, etc.
Gina liked the coffee in the lobby and the music, found the technology striking (I think she had expected none), but was disappointed that the church offered nothing to eat for breakfast. After the sermon Gina expressed appreciation for my talk because it sounded ?normal? (I think as opposed to being stylized) and it gave her ?a lot to think about.?
During the service, Janet entertained each of Gina's observations and answered every question.
Needless to say, the author arrives at pretty much the same conclusion I have:
Janet's experience suggests that even the most spiritually inexperienced person can appreciate a fairly mainstream, or even traditional, service if someone cares enough to serve as a spiritual/cultural interpreter.Now, here is a bit of a corrollary to this conclusion - maybe we need to invest some effort in interpreting for those inside the the church? Of course, I don't think it will work, because mostly this depresses me.
The conclusion I draw here is that the pressure for less strenuous worship, and church life in general, comes not from trying to get the outside in, but from the inside wanting to lower the bar. Look, I'm not talking about music choice here - I'm talking about jettisoning hundreds of years of tradition and meaning in the development of an order of worship, the power of corporate confession, the depth of the Words of Institution for the sacrament, those awkwards times of silence during worship where we - shudder - might be forced to deal directly with our Lord.
This paints a picture that tells me that "seeker-sensitivity" is the excuse on which we hang our own desire for ease and lack of challenge.
People don't come to church because of stuff like worship style, they come because of personal connection. The rest of it is about us, and frankly, this bit does not reflect well on us.
Related Tags: church, worship, contemporary, worship style, challenge, maturity