How a contemporary sees contemporary worship

Robert Burns prayed for the power “To see ourselves as others see us!” (To a  Louse). So I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings here.  But it is surely helpful for a church trying to be contemporary to see how actual contemporaries are responding to their efforts.

Matt Walsh, a young guy of the sort that churches are trying to reach, speculates that the reason Christianity is allegedly in decline, according to that Pew study, is that it has become so boring.  But, in his telling, the boredom comes from the proliferation of contemporary worship, which, he says, in the course of making fun of it, drains Christianity of its transcendence, substance, and seriousness. [Read more...]

“The sacraments are what make the church relevant”

Yesterday we blogged about Rachel Held Evan’s contention that church growth techniques designed to reach Millennials–contemporary worship, attempts to make church relevant, efforts to make Christianity seem cool–do not, in fact, work.  Her suggestion instead:   “Keep worship weird.”  That is, recover the sacraments.  “The sacraments,” she says, “are what make the church relevant.” [Read more...]

Worship is more than praising God

Pastor Mark Schroeder cites a rather compelling quotation on worship from Klemet Preus:

“If the Divine Service is viewed primarily as our praising God, then you can do that just as well from home. In fact, once we have looked at the topic of vocation, you will see that we can serve God better in the world than in the church building. But if the service is understood as God giving us the forgiveness of sins, then you’ve got to be there. It is very possible that the low attendance at Sunday services seen in so many churches today is a reflection of how we define the service. If I am acting, then I can do it another time. If God is acting, I better be there.”

Pastor Klemet Preus, The Fire and the Staff, Kindle ed. loc 2871

Rev. Schroeder goes on to discuss the point, telling about a sermon he heard that was all about our need to praise God, but forgetting to say anything about Jesus and His cross.  [Read more...]

The offering Christ wants from us

The Wise Men gave Christ gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  What gift do you think Christ most wants from you?  Pastor Douthwaite in his Epiphany sermon said that the offering Christ most wants from us is our sins. [Read more...]

Church design that appeal to Millennials

The Christian pollsters and research company the Barna Group has researched what kind of church architecture and design elements appeal most to the Millennial generation, the 18-29 year-olds that churches are trying hard to reach.

Briefly, the Millennisals much prefer traditional church design, as well as quiet, contemplative spaces, to the auditorium-style sanctuaries with screens and speaker systems that have become popular in the Church Growth Movement.

After the jump, read about the study and see some samples of the findings. [Read more...]

Nonliturgical liturgy

All Christians, including “non-liturgical” Christians, worship with a liturgy, in the sense of a predictable order of worship that reflects their theology.  The key question is what the liturgy is and what it means.  A new book is out on this subject by Yale worship scholar Melanie Ross, Evangelical versus Liturgical?: Defying a Dichotomy.
[Read more...]