A friend of mine, Jay Muir, is the worship pastor at a big church in my town. He and I have been friends (and even bandmates) for a long time. If you talk to him, he may not admit that, just warning you. This weekend I was at his church doing some recording for a local band who was leading worship there. Jay had just started this new worship service/event at his church called “Worship 12:1″ based on Romans 12:1. The next day I was back there to pick up some gear, and he and I were talking shop as colleagues and friends. I had asked him how he thought things went, given this was the first night for this new endeavor. Through the course of the conversation, he said something that I thought was an interesting statement and question. To paraphrase, he said something like this:
“I really hope this thing becomes a community of worshipers who are ready for something deeper in worship beyond and in addition to their Sunday morning experience. I really don’t want it to just be another thing to be consumed. I want to create a community, I don’t want to just offer another service.”
Huh. Interesting. We use the word “service” all the time to denote our worship events and teaching times, etc. At least I do. We talk about “planning a service” or “offering a second service” or “leading the morning service”, and so on. Jay’s comment got me to thinking though. Community is a big value for my church, as I’m hopeful it is for most, but have I ever thought about it in the context of my worship planning and leading? The question I came away with is this: Would my worship planning look different if I undertook it from the perspective of building a community rather than planning a service? If so, how? Would it change the way I pick songs? How I organize the flow? What elements I do and don’t include?
Maybe it’s just semantics.
Maybe it’s not that simple.
Maybe it’s not one or the other.
But as for me, I’m always looking for ways to force myself to re-examine what I’ve been doing for 10+ years with new eyes and a fresh perspective – something to keep auto-pilot syndrome from setting in and to challenge me to do things out of conviction rather than habit. I’m thankful for friends and colleagues like Jay who feed me these kind of nuggets from time to time, and that’s the one I’m chewing on at the moment.
What about you? Are you planning/offering a service or building a community? What’s the difference? Would things change for you if you were to look at things from one or the other perspective? Would love to add your thoughts to the mix!