Friday, August 03, 2007


One of the ways your church staff grows together is by reading books and discussing them when we meet. The book we’re currently working through is Transformation: How Glocal Churches Transform Lives and the World by Bob Roberts, Jr. [global + local = glocal] You have already read some quotes from this book in previous Musings. Another has come to mind as I’ve been wrestling with the particulars of this Sunday’s combined worship service [7/29/07]. Knowing that we have members (from both services) who will either grumble or choose to stay away because the style of the service will not be exactly like they want it to be, my heart yearns for us to grow to value the diversity within our congregation. Roberts writes:

I experience God in our worship at NorthWood, but I have also experienced him in worship in a Presbyterian church with a Catholic priest, Henri Nouwen. How tragic that we relate the form of worship to our ability to communicate with God more than carrying the substance from service to service. High church, low church, house church, open church, underground church, charismatic church, traditional church, contemporary church – God is in all forms. But its only function – if that church is alive – is to allow God’s kingdom to flow into people’s lives. ••• Those obsessed with style just don’t get it. Styles are not the goal, only conduits – and only for a period of time.

“ … and only for a period of time.” Consider this from
(this article
by Scott Wesley Brown that I found at
Have you ever wondered what worship will be like in Heaven? We all know that it will be glorious and that we will have the honor of worshiping Jesus face to face. But what kind of worship genre will it be? Will it be traditional or contemporary, Puritan psalm singing or Gregorian chant, Vivaldi choruses or Passion Praise? Will it be in unison or four part harmony, acapella [sic] or accompanied by instruments? Will the language be French, Spanish, Italian or Cantonese? Will hands be raised or arms folded? Will it be loud or soft? Will it have a Pentecostal or Presbyterian feel? Will it be “High church” or “Low church”?
The implication is that we won’t care, or that it will be so far removed from what we now know that it won’t matter. Close to a year ago the worship committee began talking about what we will actually do this Sunday morning. The goal is not to please (or to displease) anyone, but to come together and celebrate our unity in Christ, and to do so in such a way that our hearts please God. Thinking about staying away? Please don’t.

That’s enough to think about for now.
Blogger's note:
I wrote the above for the rehearsals that took place on Wednesday evening July 25th ... the day before I left town for a week's vacation (including a Disney cruise to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary). One of the things I told the choir and the contemporary worship team took it's root in this Aesop fable.. I related the story as clearly as I could, then told them: "This Sunday morning, you are both host and guest in worship ... host to those who usually attend the other service, and their guest as well. I expect you to be gracious in both capacities." I arrived back in town last night and asked my in-laws how things went. From their description, I think I have reason to be proud of my people.

When we calendared the combined service, we did not intend on as many of the staff being away as were. My senior pastor was out west on vacation and our Youth Minister/Pianist (who usually leads the contemporary side of things when I'm away) was in Brazil on a mission trip. Our summer youth ministry intern preached (he had been planning for weeks and was very ready), and the rest of our teams did a very good job (from everything I have been told).

I did learn, however, that a number of our people did chose to stay away because of the combined nature of the service ... and my heart grieves for the loss of community that behavior perpetuates.


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