The Cost of Church

Continuing my “Unpacking the Tweets” series, I thought about the above quote and couldn’t remember where in the presentation at You Lost Me LIVE I had heard it. So I tweeted David Kinnaman and asked where it may have come from. He graciously replied and pointed me in the right direction. It was from the below video, this video is a promo for some of the interviews on the You Lost Me DVD.

My interest is in the second interviewee.

The gentleman goes on to say the following as well.

“Churches have fallen into this consumer, corporate model of putting on a show. Part of me doesn’t want to go to church to be entertained.”

“We’ve fallen into this trap of sitting there and being entertained and receiving. You get your fix and you go. Some how that’s insufficient to me.”

Hearing the gentleman speak about how church has become something we go to and receive something, I was reminded of a book I read a couple of years ago which has shaped my imagination of what worship is. The book, Emerging Worship, by Dan Kimball, offers an interesting read on worship as a whole, but this paragraph struck me about our worship gatherings.

“Most people view the weekend worship service as a place where we go to get service done to us by “getting our tanks filled up” at the service station. It’s a place where someone will give a sermon and serve us with our weekly sustenance. In automobile terms, you could say it is our weekly fill-up. We come to our service station to have a song leader or choir serve us by leading us in singing songs. All so we can feel good when we emotionally connect through mass singing and feel secure that we did “worship”. (pg 2)

I think what the gentleman’s point in the video is to have some investment in the worship, to be challenged to think deeper and engage in the dialogue  To have to share his voice in and amongst the congregation. Maybe that’s not what he means, but it is interesting to think about in this way.

A new generation is coming to the table with more education and information available to them, than we have ever seen in previous generations. The Church needs to be willing to look at this as a gift and not a threat. To engage them in meaningful discussions around the Scripture and to ask for their understanding and convictions is in someways a cost. When we are asked to speak our minds, we are putting our own thoughts out there Without this interaction young adults will continue to turn from the Church, because there is no cost to coming to a worship “service” and feeling good about it.

Please do not hear me as trashing or belittling the importance of traditional worship or liturgical worship. I feel a deep connection to liturgical worship and the traditions of worship. But I also feel a passionate connection to contemporary music which moves me to passionate response and deeper thinking. I feel a connection to asking questions and being in conversations about what the Bible means for us today and how it is going to shape my children and the youth I work with. And believe it or not every church has a liturgy, an order of worship. In it’s definition liturgy is the order of which we worship.

lit·ur·gy

/ˈlitərjē/

Noun
  1. A form or formulary according to which public religious worship, esp. Christian worship, is conducted.
  2. A religious service conducted according to such a form or formulary.

I could go on and on about this, but my question is how do we continue to hold on to the past and continue forward with a new idea surrounding our worship? What will it take for our communities to open up and engage a new generation of Christians in authentic worship where it “costs” them something? What must we let go of? What must we embrace?

The answers are not easy, really there may not be any neat answers, but there is an excitement within me when there are discussions around what this may look like and how we might better engage not only the young adults not in our churches, but also those congregational members who have a desire to engage in a different way.

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