Minister's Blog

Let your liturgy be alien

In the last couple of decades, evangelical churches have tended to seek to construct liturgies (yes, they are liturgies, even if that's not what you call them) designed partly, primarily, or even exclusively to make non-Christian visitors feel at ease with what's going on in the service.

When you think about what Christian worship (yes, it is worship, even if that's not what you call it) is, this is a very odd state of affairs, highlighted in this article byDaniel Darling, entitled, "Don't let non-Christians design your liturgy".

Here's a brief extract:

Last year I attended a college football game in Nashville with some friends. I was invited by a colleague who is a school alum and unapologetic fan. It struck me, as I sat in his team’s section, that they didn’t really care how their particular rituals affected me, an outsider. They were simply proud of their team and wanted everyone, including me, to know it. This wasn’t offensive; it was attractive. What was it about their university that so motivated them to lose themselves in celebration at a football game?

The loyal fan base embraced me, but they didn’t allow me to determine their game-day liturgy. The band didn’t play music more amenable to my preferences. The cheeerleaders didn’t craft a generic routine I might understand. The fans didn’t wear generic clothing so I’d fit in.

The experience made me wonder: Why should our church services be any different? The seeker who enters the doors of our church should be welcomed, loved, and served. We should labor to declare the gospel to him in language he understands. But sidelining the rhythms of Christian worship communicates embarrassment about what we claim matters most.

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