Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shaping of the Church

Now that Easter has passed and churches work this week on "follow up" directed to all of the visitors from this year's celebrations, I thought this would work as a good time to introduce a "Shaping of the Church" topic. It has been a while since I have done this so hopefully you are ready to offer some opinions and as always, hopefully some of you will have different opinions which will lead to a fight. (Okay maybe not a fight, but some real thinking).

My question is this: How should the Church utilize days like Easter and Christmas when people come who do not usually come to church? Does making these days into large productions intended to entertain or creatively proclaim the message of the day actually take away from true celebration and worship? Should churches even change their usually style of worship for these days?


Kimberly said...

Well, I, too, think of this. I'm very aware that it is a different service on the holidays. So much so, that I usually don't go on Easter. Yeah. The main reason I don't is because I am being a "Martha" and preparing for Easter Dinner with my family all coming over. But, I know it's going to be more of an entertainment service than a teaching time anyway. I know, I know, I should feel it a privilege to come and celebrate with other believers - I'm just saying how it usually goes and what it is for me.

I understand the motivation to design a service so that unchurched people will be comfortable and create in them a desire to come back. But, isn't the church worship service supposed to be for the believers?

Are we supposed to expect to be entertained?

I'm just saying.

Rich said...

Christ's resurrection is not celebrated as often as it should be within the church. At least one day out of the year it is given special attention. The problem may not be the program on Easter or Christmas morning. In fact they can be quite powerful, even for the believer. The issue in a sense comes from your question of "should churches change their usual style of worship on these days? Maybe the style of worship, holistic worship (not just lifting hands in praise, but living our lives as living sacrifices), should be re-examined biblically and then lived out by the "action" we live our lives by.

Angela said...

Luke and I went to my home church for Easter, forgetting that they put on a celebration service every year. Trying to imagine myself as a non-believer, I do not think I would have enjoyed the service. I do think that the celebration of Christ's resurrection should be a daily thing in the life of a believer. Do I think that church services should change their usual style of worship on these days? I would say no. I think that a short, heartfelt message that speaks truth and grace goes farther than a poor sounding Easter presentation that is choir led and does not encourage participation (that was our experience on Sunday).

patricia said...

I don't like the entertainment aspect of Christmas and Easter.
Like Kim, I've stayed away for the same reasons on holidays.

It seems as though the pendulum is swinging the other way too, where some churches (trying to be different) are not teaching the message of the resurrection at all on Easter which for me would be a disappointment.

There will always be people who only come to church on Christmas and Easter. I don't think they need to be entertained with unreal performances.
Before my husband became a believer and I would ask him to go to church with me he would ask "Is it Christmas or Easter?"

My vote goes for the basic message of the birth and resurrection of Christ without the fancy dresses, Ties,
straw hats and white gloves.

Sara said...

Oh come on Patricia - I want to see you in gloves and a straw hat! :)

Ryan said...

Kimberely- Has our attitude as church attendees contributed to the "entertainment" approach of churches? How often do we say, "I didn't like worship today", or "That message wasn't very good".

Rich- Good point. Easter and Christmas can be moving and special and I think you are right that our approach to worship is important.

Angela- I hope you were able to reflect this year in some other way.

Patricia- I think dressing up is fine because it is a cultural thing but I agree, I don't want to wear a straw hat and gloves.


Kevin said...

Special Celebration and Worship yes....

Special Entertainment, Show, Concert.... no
(Put down the Media Shout!)