So I read Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love To Attend, by Andy Stanley, and here’s a few quotes for your perusal and commentary:
People are fare more interested in what works than what’s true. I hate to burst your bubble, but virtually nobody in your church is on a truth quest, including your spouse. They are on happiness quests. As long as you are dishing out truth with no here’s the difference it will make tacked on the end, you will be perceived as irrelevant by most of the people in your church, student ministry, or home Bible study. You may be spot-on theologically, like the teachers of the law in Jesus’ day, but you will not be perceived as one who teaches with authority. Worse, nobody is going to want to listen to you.
Now, at the heart of that quote is the balance between “deep” teaching and applications-focused sermons. I have a TON of thoughts on this, but I’m curious as to where the patrons fall on it…
On “worship” in most churches:
Let’s face it: We use the term as an adjective as much or more than we do as a noun. We have worship music, worship leaders, worship centers and worship services. But outsiders don’t use the term that way. For outsiders, worship is still primarily a verb…It is important for song leaders to remember that there is a segment of our population that doesn’t like to sing. Ever. They don’t sing in their cars or in their showers. And they aren’t going to sing at church. I remind our song leaders from time to time that they aren’t doing anything wrong. Some people just don’t like to sing. And that’s okay. And please don’t guilt people into singing. An individual’s willingness or unwillingness to participate in corporate singing is not a reflection of his or her commitment to Christ or spiritual maturity.
What I’m wondering about it whether or not singing has replaced what we mean by “worship.” And if we could run services without song every now and again…and how much energy and effort is expended (financially and resource wise, think about this for a second) on the music portion of our “worship” services. What would/should our services look like? How much singing? What could we differently?
One of the primary reasons churches are empty is because church leaders love their models more than they love people. Writing to business leaders, author Seth Godin addresses a parallel tension in the marketplace when he writes: ‘Don’t fall in love with a tactic and defend it forever. Instead, decide once and for all if you’re in a market or not.’ I’m afraid too many church leaders are in love with their tactics, their approaches to doing church. Jesus call us
What I’ve found is that it isn’t only the leaders who love the models, but also the rank-and-file membership. Why do you think it’s hard to change the way we “do church?” Should we? How would we go about affecting change without hurting everyone involved?
That should be enough for you today, kids. Have at it, patrons!