An argument has been made recently that the reason for the decline of the church in the last decades is not due to theology or practice but due to a lack of creativity. It is truly a fault of imagination. While the world changed, we stayed the same. The argument goes that the church is, quite frankly, boring. It is repetitive. We sing the same songs. We say the same words. We even sit in the same pews. We do all of this week after week in the same setting. And for many, exiting the church is the response.
One of the conversations that has sparked a lot of interest on the Worship Committee is “How do we make worship more creative, better even?” The new Welcoming Time that will precede worship came out of a similar conversation. “What should we be doing that we are not?” We want worship to matter. We want worship to enliven the heart, to point to Jesus Christ in new and profound ways, to be something that people look forward to all week. To do this, our mindset and expectation has to change. To that end, you will notice small changes to the Order of Worship. (The Prelude and Announcements have already switched places.) You will also notice changes that are meant to deepen the experience of worship: 1) the baptismal font is more centered now, and 2) the Communion elements will process in during the new Communion Hymn starting on September 10. My hope is that you will also see new creative elements to worship beyond this.
At a worship conference I attended a few years ago, they challenged us to think of the best worship service we ever attended. Some shared stories of particularly meaningful Easter or Christmas Eve services. Some recounted singing around a campfire. Some even spoke about a special service following a national or local tragedy. In almost all the stories, the best and most meaningful services were the ones that were out of the norm. The setting was different. The liturgy had changed. There was special music. The church was decorated differently. They did different things. They moved from their seats and gathered around the communion table, baptismal font, or prayer station. Church changed and because it changed it changed them.
I want to challenge all of you as you read this: What was you favorite worship experience? Where did it happen? How did it happen? What made it so special? Why was it different? Help Southminster improve our worship by suggesting how we can make worship more meaningful and creative.