Values For Corporate Worship, pt 5

Values For Corporate Worship, pt 5 October 20, 2014

I’m writingan extended series of columns describing our goals and values for corporateworship. So far, I’ve said that we want our worship gatherings to beGod-centered, cross-centered, and Scripture-saturated. Last week, I wrote aboutcongregational engagement. Some churches want their predominant sound to be agritty, cutting-edge musical style. Other churches like a resounding pipeorgan. We want our predominant sound to be the people singing, and I explainedseveral reasons we value the full engagement of the whole assembly ofworshipers in all elements of the meeting.

The nextvalue that unites and informs us in worship is cultural sensitivity. Webelieve our worship gatherings must take heed to two distinct “voices”: thevoice of the Scriptures and the voice of the secular society where we live asstrangers and pilgrims. Though we will not listen to these two voices withequal deference, we want to be attentive to both.

Likewise,we believe our worship is and should be shaped by our legacy, our traditions,and our past values as a church. While we do not hold the past as sacrosanct,we fully recognize that we did not invent what it means to “do church” in thelast few years. Novelty is not necessarily a virtue. Our distinctiveness andeffectiveness as a church are affected at least in part by God’s work among usin our past.

At the sametime, we firmly believe our worship meetings should be hospitable to outsiders.We want our meetings to be understandable and applicable to everyone—guests andmembers alike, always endeavoring to distinguish between the unavoidableoffense of the gospel and the avoidable offense(s) of obscure traditionalism.

Practically,this value of cultural sensitivity means:

  • We utilize a blendof musical styles and song selections, desiring to remember our own past andyet still honor the society in which our church members live and minister.
  • We makealterations to our corporate worship only when convinced change is necessary,upholding our past as honorable and respectable.
  • We introducechange slowly and carefully, recognizing that our church culture will acceptsome changes more readily than others.
  • We strive toexplain Christian terms, worship activities, and church traditions in such away that outsiders or immature believers will understand them.
  • We examine ourworship meetings for offenses or obscurities that would overshadow the gospelor misrepresent our church’s values to outsiders.