Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Worship & Emergent

Here is a followup I said I would post from Dan Kimball's The Emerging Church, specifically about contrasts around worship between the modern church, seeker-sensitive, and the emerging church, post-seeker-sensitive.

Modern will be listed first and then Emerging next:

1. Worship "services" in which preaching, music, programs, etc. are "served" to the attender; worship 'gatherings" which include preaching, music, etc.
2. Services designed to reach those who have had bad or boring experiences in a church; gatherings designed to include and translate to those who have no previous church experience
3. Services designed to be user-friendly and contemporary; gatherings designed to be experiential and spiritual-mystical.
4. A need to break the stereotype of what church is; a need to break the stereotype of who Christians are
5. Stained glass taken out and replaced with video screens; stained glass brought back in on video screens
6. Crosses and other symbols removed from meeting place to avoid looking too religious; crosses and other symbols brought back into meeting place to promote a sense of spiritual reverence.
7. Room arranged so individuals are able to see the stage from comfortable theater seating while worshipping; room arranged to focus on community, striving to feel more like a living room or coffeehouse while worshipping.
8. Lit up and cheery sanctuary valued; darkness valued as it displays a sense of spirituality
9. Focal point of the service is the sermon; focal point of the gathering is the holistic experience.
10. Preacher and worship leader lead the service; preacher and worship leader lead by participating in the gathering.
11. Use modern technology to communicate with contemporary flare; gathering seen as a place to experience the ancient, even mystical (and uses technology to do so)
12. Services designed to grow to accomodate the many people of the church; gatherings designed to grow to accomodate many people but seen as a time when the church which meets in smaller groups gathers together.

Be interesting to add a third segment to the above chart, for what Cole, Barna, others are pointing to in a kind of post-emergent or more organic and intentionally small and decentralized "church" would be different in focus on many places than what Kimball sketched out about the Emerging Church worship. Will have to work on that in the future or invite you to do so.

Course so many progressive churches are still settled in modern church approach (and some doing just fine of course) that getting them to move into emerging model is a big step, and one I wonder if it is worthwhile to take, or if they just shouldnt try to add on to what they have by starting new gatherings more in the organic revolutionary mode than the evolutionary emergent mode. In fact, wouldn't it be cool to see a church that has three manifestations of itself in its core and in multiple sites--modern, emergent, and organic. While blended worship probably has too many long term difficulties to be effective, maybe blended church itself would be different. Course why bother with that when you could just spin off new church plants for those niches.

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