Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Church Rearranged | Leadership Journal

Church Rearranged | Leadership Journal

This recent article in Leadership Journal brings to the surface some interesting questions about Christian worship. For those Christian leaders called to plant new congregations, remember the arrangement of your furniture communicates a great deal about your community. The more difficult question, I think, is: How can we who worship and lead in congregations with more traditional "furniture" invite the world to the same Incarnational experience with God and God's people?

4 comments:

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  2. Wes, our church (and about 250 others in Austin) are about to embark in a campaign called "Explore God" which will begin with a larger advertising campaign pointing folks to a website that asks big questions about God through video and print. This experience will culminate with a 7 week sermon study based on some of those big questions, but will focus more on spiritual conversations happening around dinner tables, in coffee shops, etc. This article makes a great point as I think about what we are doing here: what happens when those individuals make the transition to our more "traditional" understanding of church?

    I like how you phrase the question about our "traditional furniture" in our churches. As a worship leader, I have wondered these exact same things. There have been times when I have back-tracked on my thoughts about things like lighting and stage design because I think "well that stuff is just trivial" or I feel guilty and start thinking "I should be comfortable worshipping no matter the setting." Yet, in real life, I feel more engaged and free to worship in settings that feel more "home-y." So I agree that the way our churches look and "feel" says a lot about how we go about doing things and who we are as a church. It's like going to a dinner party at a friend's house where you kick off your shoes with a cup of coffee in hand and just enjoy life versus going to your grandmother's house sitting on Victorian style couches with the clear plastic vinyl protectors on them drinking tea out of her crystal glasses. You are going to have two very different experiences in those situations. So maybe talking about this *is* important for our churches. This has sparked some good thought for me. Would love to hear some more thoughts on this, as it is something I am looking into right now.

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  3. Preston, this question is much easier for new church plants. Much like the congregation described in the article, they can start fresh and design their worship spaces to fit dialogue (as opposed to lecture). More difficult is the task of congregations in already existing, traditional rooms. Our church buildings were designed as lecture halls. The problem, however, is that those attracted to such a setting are already in church buildings! What about the other folks? What about those who deeply desire a venue to discuss God's activity in the world today? You've heard it said: "If we keep doing what we've always done, we will continue to get the same results." If we continue to offer the same kinds of worship experiences, we will continue to attract the same folks (and we will also continue to marginalize the same folks who come every week, but who deeply desire something different). There is nothing wrong with the way we worship (in the strictest sense), but just as we all learn and experience in different ways, we also worship in different ways.

    How do we create outlets for wide varieties of people worship? I think we need to be more creative with our time slots. Instead of coming back Sunday evening and Wednesday evening to recreate the same Sunday morning experience, why don't we use those times for discussion, panels, round-table dialogue, debate? I'd love to hear what you, as a worship leader, are doing to help bring all kinds of people into worship.

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