Common Liturgy Update
Common Liturgy Update
Two Services to Continue through Thanksgiving
I hope you’re enjoying your summer.
Now that we’ve worshiped the past three weeks at 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. in a collaborative, “common liturgy” format, I wanted to reach out to you and share how I would like us as a community to move forward based on the feedback and responses we’ve received.
As you might know, the feedback about the worship format and times has been overwhelmingly positive and, even, enthusiastic. We’ve received responses from about 175 of you, a significant sample size distributed more or less evenly across the 8:30, 9:45, and 11:15 service constituencies. Less than 4% were negative about the common liturgy format and times.
Maybe I don’t need to tell you, but to have over 90% consensus in a church about anything, much less worship, is a rare occurrence. It shows a high level of trust and appreciation you all have for each other, your musical staff, and your volunteers. I’m grateful to serve with you at Aldersgate.
In case you missed the email we sent out when launching the Common Liturgy, here are some of the reasons the leaders and I thought it worth trying:
— The quality and diversity of our music can increase when our musical staff and volunteers are not diluted across 3 services.
— As Paul says in Romans, we’re to present our bodies as a living sacrifice; that is, the participants in worship themselves impact worship. Two full and robust worship services create a warmer, more energetic atmosphere.
— Contemporary worship services were created in the late 1980s and early 1990s as part of the “worship wars,” which created an “us vs. them” mentality that is contrary to Christian community. Increasingly, churches across the country are moving to a single collaborative style of worship.
— The Millennials and the generations closest to them do not seek distinct worship styles. They seek connection to the ancient tradition, authenticity, and quality. The popularity of contemporary Christian bands rediscovering and reinventing ancient and old hymns is but one example of this trend. In other words, just as the creation of a contemporary service was the right strategy in the 1980s to reach the Baby Boom generation, the blurring of “contemporary” vs. “traditional” is a best-practice strategy to reach the generations after them. For example, most of our young first-time visitors over the past two years have not come to us through the 9:45 service.
— Two worship services is a better way to respect and steward the time of our coffee, ushering, welcoming, scripture, and communion volunteers.
— This strong consensus has surprised us such that what we began as a pilot project appears to be an idea that warrants further experimentation and assessment. In addition, we can only determine how the two times and collaborative format function with the Sunday School program by trying it while the Sunday School program is in operation.
So, I invite you to continue the good will and trust you’ve already shown us as we extend the Common Liturgy experiment into the fall.
— We will continue to worship on Sunday mornings at 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. through Thanksgiving, at which time we will evaluate and assess, after having solicited your feedback again.
— Children’s and Youth Sunday School will meet during the 9:00 a.m. service.
— Adult Sunday School times will be determined by the teachers and class members.
— For families for whom 9:00 a.m. doesn’t work, Cindy Amos has graciously volunteered to lead a one-room Sunday School during the 10:30 worship hour to complement our Children’s Worship offering.
I’m thrilled to be in a church where the trust is high and where the musicians and singers are as flexible as they are skilled. No doubt we will encounter hiccups and challenges when the fall hits, and I encourage you to let us know how we can do better and how you can help us do better.