Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Contemporary Worship Honesty

Sally Morgenthaler is the author of Worship Evangelism a sort of Bible for the Contemporary worship crowd. But she has come to a sad realization the last few years and spells it out in the May/June edition of Rev! magazine. Here’s a quote:

But from pastors conferences to worship seminars
to seminaries, I began challenging leaders to give
up their mythologies about how they were reaching the
unchurched on Sunday morning. Yes, worship openly and
unapologetically. Yes, worship well and deeply. (Which
means singing songs that may include anger, sadness,
and despair. Have we forgotten that David did this? Have
we discarded the psalms?) But let our deepened, honest
worship be the overflow of what God does through us
beyond our walls.

Conference organizers were confused. They wondered
what had happened to me. Where was the worship
evangelism warrior? Where was the formula? Where was
the pep talk for all those people who were convinced
that trading in their traditional service for a contemporary
upgrade would be the answer? I don’t have to tell
you this. The 100-year-old congregation that’s down to
43 members and having a hard time paying the light bill
doesn’t want to be told that the “answer” is living life
with the people in their neighborhoods. Relationships
take time, and they need an attendance infusion now.
I understood their dilemma, and secretly, I wished
I had a magic bullet. But I didn’t. And I wasn’t going to
give them false hope. Some newfangled worship service
wasn’t going to save their church, and it wasn’t going
to build God’s kingdom. It wasn’t going to attract the
strange neighbors who had moved into their communities
or the generations they had managed to ignore for the
last 39 years. Sally Morgenthaler (Rev! May/June 2007)

Hat tip: McCain


  1. Maxim said...

    A professor at an evangelical liberal-arts college a short distance away from the Orthodox church I used to attend would bring one of his religion classes once a year to the church for an "inter-religious experience". After the Liturgy, our priest would give a short talk, and field any questions and comments. I happened to be passing through as the professor was observing that, in his opinion, the Orthodox service wasn't exactly calculated to bring modern men and women through the doors of the church. Father Mathew's answer was very succinct and direct; "The services of the Church are for feeding the sheep. There are other venues for outreach".