In order to reach people we’re currently not reaching, we’re going to have to start doing things that we’re currently not doing.
Some of the experiments may be things that are to our personal preference.
AND…some of the experiments that the church will engage in may not be things that are to our personal liking.
Here’s the thing…if we’re going to Christ’s church who exists to “Make Disciples, Grow Disciples, and Share the Love of Christ with All People,” we’re going to have to do things that may not be to our personal liking in order for us to accomplish our mission.
Some of us prefer the old time hymns. I think they’re great too!
Some of us prefer rock and roll. I do too.
Some of us grew up with liturgy and when we hear a great organ piece we are moved to tear. Me too.
Some of us never grew up in the church and find such music dreadfully boring. I get it.
But is worship really about meeting our needs or has God called us to worship for a cause that’s much bigger than our personal needs?
One of the resources I use for my daily devotionals is www.commonprayer.net. I found a very helpful entry that I would like to share with you.
Offering a Sacrifice of Praise
There is an old saying many Christians use: “Offer the Lord a sacrifice of praise,” referring to Hebrews 13:15. In many circles this notion of a “sacrifice of praise” almost becomes cliché. (Perhaps because worship does not often come at much cost, especially compared with the sacrifices of saints who’ve gone before us.) But when we worship with folks of various traditions, there are times when we may hear a prayer that uses language we might not naturally use or sing a song that isn’t really our style. That is part of what it means to be a member of a community as diverse as the church is. And perhaps that also helps shed some light on why it might require some sacrifice for us to give up ourselves.
When a song isn’t working for you, consider praising God, because that probably means it is working for someone else who is very different from you. Offer your worship as a sacrifice rather than requiring others to sacrifice for your pleasure or contentment. There is something to the notion of becoming one as God is one; it doesn’t mean that we are the same; it just means that we are united by one Spirit. After all, we can become one only if there are many of us to begin with.
Liturgy puts a brake on narcissism. Certainly, there is something beautiful about contemporary worship, where we can take old things and add a little spice to them, like singing hymns to rock tunes or reciting creeds as spoken word rhymes. But liturgy protects us from simply making worship into a self-pleasing act. So if a song or prayer doesn’t quite work for you, be thankful that it is probably really resonating with someone who is different from you, and offer a sacrifice of praise.