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Oct 22, 2012


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Dan Anderson-Little

Interesting post--and thank you, thank you, thank you for reminding us that not all tradtions are Biblical and not all that is Biblical has become a tradition. Fred Holper who used to teach Worship at McCormick Seminary used to warn people about talking too knowingly about "traditional" worship as the Presbyterian Church has at least 18 different worship traditions! It seems to me that simply shortening the service to get folks to come to worship is at least in part missing the point. There are some churches that don't sweat the time issue (and I would bet run over an hour) who do well with young people. To be sure, people are busy, but people also need to encounter the gospel in their own language--which is not only about worshipping in English, Spanish or Chinese, but in cultural languages, which may include technology, styles of music, mindsets, time of day, and on and on. I wonder how much the impulse to shorten worship is a way to avoid the deeper conversation of culture--both within and outside of the church--a "maybe we don't need to change and they will like us if we make it less time consuming." As always, thanks!

Michael W. Kruse

Dan, one of he things I've been thinking about is what if we had a short service together with a sit down meal each week? I know Korean churches that do this. I know our knowledge of First Century worship is sketchy but it appears to me to be more about table fellowship than about people gathered in rows watching events. Why not have paid staff that handle the food preparation as part of the worship experience?

I'm not suggesting this as some Platonic ideal model but I do wonder if a shorter service combined with other elements we have not traditionally thought of as part of the gathering experience might be needed.

Just thinking.

Dan Anderson-Little

Yes, I like your suggestion. But what your are putting forward is not the shortening of worship but a recasting of it. This is worship that is connecting in different ways, satisfying the need for fellowship and making worship sensory--both of which were largely absent in "traditional" Protestant worship and which would probably be missing from a shortened service. And instead of a meal, how about a bike ride or community gardening, or tutoring, or a thousand other things. In your suggestion, it is not a meal and a short service, but a worship experience that includes a meal--or maybe its a meal that includes worship. It is ideas like yours that give the church a future--not doing more of what we already do that isn't very effective only now doing it shorter.

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