Yesterday, I was on vacation to take James and Lydia to the Newsboys concert in Baltimore. It was a Sunday morning as I was driving through southern Pennsylvania and we passed a lot of churches with their parking lots half full at best. It got me to thinking about the popularity, or lack thereof, of worship these days.
Most of us know that mainline denominations are seeing a serious lack of attendance in worship, and yesterday I got to see this firsthand. Of all the churches I passed on my journey, only two had parking lots that were anywhere near being filled.
This was sad to me. Maybe it is a sign of the times. Maybe people are just too busy with other things to do on Sunday mornings. Maybe worship is out of vogue.
Then, we attended the Newsboys concert and literally thousands were standing on their feet and singing “I Believe!” So, I thought to myself: no, worship is not of vogue. People still enjoy worshiping God and singing praises up to heaven! It was refreshing to see so many women and men, children and teenagers, and even entire families worshiping God in so many numbers in a public setting in the city of Baltimore!
So, this left me wondering: if worship is not out of vogue, are our churches missing the mark in some ways? I think there might be something to this thought. For example, we all know the seven deadly words of a dying church: “We never did it that way before!” Some churches get stuck in a rut sometimes. Maybe denominations do, too.
One of my recent concerns in this area is the “quick fix” or “cookie cutter” attempts being offered now for churches to move in a more positive direction. I have seen this firsthand and it is definitely not the best approach. Churches are different and unique. We are not all called to be mega churches!
That being said, I am concerned about worship attendance in our country and here in Stroudsburg. Numbers are not the most important thing, but remember, every number represents a child of God. Each person is important and I still believe there is an important place for worship in our culture today.
SUMC is attempting to reach people in a variety of ways. One example of this is incorporating a praise song into the middle hymn slot in our order of worship. The music in a our church is also eclectic and provides for a variety of different interests.
In what other ways could worship reach more people and be relevant to them? I believe that tradition holds an important place even in today’s modern world. I am open to new ideas, however. What are the most important elements of worship in our Sunday morning worship to you? What do you prefer not doing? How can we present worship in a way that is inviting to new people? If you have any thoughts on how we can make worship more meaningful I would love to hear from you!
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