I honestly have to spend some time really praising my church. I have been struggling lately with a whole lot of stupid things that have been going on. You guys we are regulars have heard about them. I have been feeling like our church doesn’t support our youth ministry, and I may be hearing some more vocal criticism lately, but all in all we are a very progressive place.
I have to admit I have been traveling down this sort of alt.worship (or what I will probably more aptly call experiential worship where people are doing more than just singing) for 3 years now—starting with our first winter retreat. I have grown through some of the ideas and left them behind and seen others become a regular part of our corporate worship. I just assumed that everyone else was taking this journey too. I just assumed that there was this movement and youth ministries (the place where things are the most radical) were heading forward into new ideas.
Today in my leading worship track time (these were worship leaders and youth pastors from churches here) and none of them really knew what I was talking about when I mentioned that stuff and the conversation about worship was still the same old “the old people don’t let us play our music” argument. I really thought that battle was fought about 10 years ago and we were moving forward.
As I listened to the problems of these churches, and more than that the attitudes of the people bringing these problems I realized that our church has come a long, long way. We have regular experiential worship services for our youth. We have had at least 5 experiential worship times for our church, and one of them was a special prayer service while we were looking for a new pastor. I have amazing freedom while leading worship to pick the songs I want (although with a few complainers) and to do the things I want that include simple alt.worship type ideas like silence, drawing, journaling, and body prayer type stuff all on Sunday morning.
The amazing thing to me too isn’t that I “get away” with all of this stuff, but it is that people actually respond and want more of it. We have a church that is seeking after God in worship and they hunger for authenticity. If what we present them is authentic then most of them are willing to give it a try. I knew I had a good thing, but I didn’t realize how good until this week. It changed my whole attitude and outlook about what we are doing, and I think I will reshape the Sunday morning service just to rejoice in the great job that I really have.