I came to Messiah Lutheran Church from a fundamentalist background via a stint of Catholicism and by way of a non-denominational church. I’ve seen worship from many angles. I’ve played in a worship band, per se, however badly, because not all pianists can play by ear, and I’m one of those pesky note-readers. I’ve been in worship services that had traditional music, latin, southern gospel, what sounded like Rock-N-Roll and alternative. I guess that’s why I was asked to be on the Contemporary Worship Task Force (is that even what it’s called?).
Here are my thoughts on that, for those who might have left the Town Halls we hosted still unsure of the future and what the incremental changes in worship might mean for you. I read the Messiah Future Story along with others in my class. I thought that it not only sounded good, but would BE good for me. The story about the young family was exactly my story. Messiah needs young families, just like it needs older congregants and singles and parents of college students and youth and children. We want a church to do more than survive, we want a church that provides something the community needs, a gospel of love and hope and forgiveness and grace. Now, how does a church meet those needs of the community?
For starters, they offer something that makes sense, intuitively, to those seeking a church home. I love traditional music performances, but if I’m going to join in worship, I need something I don’t have to be Leontyne Price to pull off! I want to join in worship, too. I have jumped off the “service” bandwagon, because that sounds so much like we’re sitting back, waiting to be served, as in a restaurant. I want to worship, and to do that, I want melodies I can follow and rhythyms without too much variation. I like when I can put down my hymnal, and still follow along. That doesn’t mean that worship songs must be cutting edge and 2010, but something less Wagnerian.
I know there are some who will be upset. Why do we need these so-called Young Families? Why must we change at all? The Church has always changed here and there to meet the needs of the community, the times, the era and the situation. We need not water down our gospel in order to address the changes we see around us. That’s why the Bible and Christ’s message are transcendent. Jesus isn’t stuck in 33 AD, and we shouldn’t stop our worship progression in 1950. Change is difficult; change is scary, but change is also, sometimes, necessary.