Thursday, March 23, 2006

Purpose Driven Worship – Part 2

Please put away your sticks and stones before reading further!

Music… the center of most worship wars. The battles are only partly about music, they are mainly about change. Think for a moment (pause, pause, pause), picture the majority of people in the “average” Presbyterian church. Most of the women would have gray hear if it weren’t for hair color (and there are men who color their hair as well!). The world they grew up no longer exists. The poverty of the Depression has been replaced with a level of prosperity that rivals any civilization in history. Most people use to be born, lived and died in the same general geographic area. My grandparents didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing. Go to the ESPN Zone in Washington DC and there is a flat screen TV on the wall above each urinal and on back of the door to each “stall.” The world they grew up in no longer exists—except for the Church.

Changing the songs or worship format can really bother a person. Their reasons are often wrapped in theological terms. “It’s not Reformed!” “The songs are shallow and have poor theology.” The list goes on and on. The message is clear—don’t change my worship!

These same people drive an up-to-date car. The big screen, HDTV is great for watching the news or the big game. They carry a cell phone. Many even use a computer to keep up with the relatives. They may not be on the cutting edge of innovation but they are light years from where they were 60 or 70 years ago. However, don’t change my worship!

Purpose Driven worship will cause worship committees and pastors looking at every aspect of the worship service. Most churches will want to think about adding a “non-traditional” worship service. Some may choose to maintain a liturgical service but there will be an effort to have that service be “the best” we can give to God. Some churches may choose to have a worship service on a different day or time. Remember, the goal of worship is to bring people into the presence of God.

The worship at the church I serve has been greatly enhanced with a transformation in the ways we worship. Our Sunday morning worship follows a traditional (sort of) form with a blend of music (we call it the best of traditional and the best of contemporary). I preach in a coat and once-or-twice a month, a sport coat w/o a tie once, and no coat or tie once-or-twice each month. The vocalist in our worship team are choir members (two of whom are almost 70). The worship team leads all of the songs—traditional and contemporary.

Saturday night we have a contemporary worship service. The music is great—if you like contemporary Christian worship music. The service has its own name (Destination 338 –338 for short—based on John 3:3-8 and our zip code of 98­338). While the numbers are still small we have new people who have come to the church because of this service.

Context… context… context… Our church is in western Washington. We are a “bedroom” area for Tacoma and Seattle. We are the second leading unchurched area of the country. We worship the way that is best for our context. Our context is not your context. Pray and ask the Lord what he wants the worship at your church to look like.

Purpose Driven worship has transformed the worship at Evergreen Presbyterian Church.


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