Conversational Worship in a Postmodern World

We’re changing the way we look at and “do” worship at our church. Instead of the Christians having a rowdy Holy Spirit party all by themselves on Sunday mornings, we’re moving more toward a service that is welcoming and inviting to those who are new to a church like ours…or just…church.

Increasingly, our society has become a postmodern and post-christian conglomerate of thought and philosophy. You can no longer talk about biblical figures like Job, Solomon, and Deborah (she’s awesome) to the Man on the Street and expect him to know what you’re on about. A while ago, I was talking to my neighbor about some problems she was experiencing, and I was explaining something to her by applying biblical principles to life situations. I said something about King David, and before I could even say “Remember when he…?” she said, “Who?” I was dumbfounded. Isn’t David’s fame somewhere up there with that of Julius Caesar or Napoleon Bonaparte? Possibly. But she, at least, didn’t have a clue who he was.

And then there’s a whole other layer when you’re in an evangelical church.

Coming out of a very traditional church background (you know…the church where you don’t cough or sneeze, unless you want the whole church turning around to glare at you), I visited an evangelical church for the first time when I was 15. The first time I saw people clapping their hands to the music and raising their hands, I had two reactions: 1. I was freaking out, to say the least. What is this?? This is one of those cults my momma warned me about, and 2. I was somewhat embarrassed for them (For the people raising their hands, in general…and for the clappers…especially those who had no rhythm and clapped on the 1st and 3rd beats, rather than the 2nd and 4th.)

When you’ve been entrenched in (insert ANY environment here) for a period of time…even just months…it can be all too easy to forget how strange it is for someone who’s never been in that environment. We have to consider that. We have to watch our strange Christianese and just learn to talk like a human. We can play music that people can understand and even relate to. We can keep our eyes open while we pray and LOOK at people while we worship…and SMILE. It’s not sacrilegious. If you think it is, or that what I suggest is compromising and pandering, you probably need to hear it more than anyone. And also, you’re a bit silly.

God wants to meet with people and show them his love and mercy, not scare the pants off them. We have to be less concerned about pleasing the old Christians who aren’t willing to change and are stuck in their traditions and more concerned about being Christ to those who are searching for answers and willing to change.

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