Tuesday, October 11, 2005


What would you do if you could re-imagine aspects of your church? What would you change? If you were assured that you wouldn't meet horrible opposition, would you do something really radically different?

Now, how about if you knew you were going to get all kinds of flack about it? Would you still change things? If so, what things would you change? If not, is it just because of the flack you would get?

I used the title "re-re-imagining" on purpose; in the UMC, the re-imagining conference was a conference that tried to reimagine a lot of stuff that I feel strongly about -- specifically, it took exception to the status of homosexuals in the church. Now, I don't want to link myself to that conference, but I do want to go on record saying that we must re-imagine and re-re-imagine how we do church in order to be effective.

Notice that I didn't say "we have to change" or "we have to follow the newest trends" because changing things just for the sake of change is just mean. There must be a reason for change. Example: I came in to NK and began immediately leading a praise song or two during the service. Why? Those praise songs are a way to help part of our congregation worship in their worship language. Imagine you spent all day speaking a foreign language. How exhausted would you be by the end of the day? Likewise with music. If you have a favorite worship song (whether it's a new praise song or a classic hymn), isn't it great when you get a chance to sing it with a bunch of other people, to all worship God together, using your favorite song?

As for other aspects of the church, are they pointing people to Jesus Christ and to a real relationship with Him, or do we just do them because that's what we always do? Sometimes doing something different really brings home the significance of what you're doing. Other times, it just makes it harder to worship. Some experiences help usher people into the presence of the LORD, while others just make people uncomfortable, seemingly just for the sake of making them squirm.

I don't have all the answers; I don't even know all the questions. I'm just re-re-imagining.


Anonymous said...

A wise person once told me this: "If a man comes to dinner, and he loves chicken; but, hates fish. You don't feed him FISH!" The church can be that way sometimes. It fails to recognize the basic fact that God will reveal himself to those who openly and honestly worship him. NO MATTER WHAT STYLE OF WORSHIP IS BEING USED! He doesn't care if the "traditional" service, the "contempory service", or the "post modern" worship style is used. He simply wants to hear from us.
If the a church can get past this basic failing; and start reaching out to meet it congregants where they are; (Just like God does.) there would be a revival of "biblical" proportions throughout the world.
So, I say "Onward Christian Soldier" provide the worship that your congregation desires. You are the pastor of ALL the members of NKUMC. Serve them well.

Jon Knapp said...

If I were to re-re-imagine, I would make mission the center piece of our church . . . not services. We would have less time for programs, because our lives would be immersed with relationships in the world.

Brian Eberly said...

We are wrestling with some of the very same things. We are having to re-re-imagine the way we do church. We have a very contemporary feel to our worship. This used to work very well for capturing the younger generations. We are now realizing that this is no longer cutting it. We are witnessing more and more young people exiting our ministry. We MUST re-re-imagine how we do church in order to maintain relevance to our culture. This will involve much more than how we conduct services. I agree with what you have said Jon.

Let's continue to imagine and re-imagine how we do church.

Brian B said...

We are also looking at why we do the things we do. Why is our band set-up like they are? Why do we sing the music we sing? Are we really worshiping God or just going through the motions of church.

All I know is I worhsip am amazing God who works in my life on a daily basis. If I can just place myself in his hands and respond to him, I know he will receive it and respond back. BUT will it be enough to bring those he has placed under me along? As I stumble along as a College pastor I see more and more students having to unlearn "church" before they rediscover Christ.

But what does that ministry look like? How does it flow, feel, sound? I don't know. Possibly different here than there. I'm still listening to God and moving one step at a time watching it begin to take shape and grow out of the relationships we are developing with each other and with him.

So is it a constant... re-imaging process? *shrug* I don't know. But I do know a church needs to be a living, growing, moving thing

Brian B said...

ooops the last part of my previous comment didn't make it...

... or they will stop communicating with their community and die.

Brian too (or would it be two.. or both...)