#1,605 How We Worship.

The first Wednesday night of every month, I’m part of the worship committee at our church. As our young adult group is getting more traction as an actual working part of our church, it feels like the committee is increasingly soliciting more input from us in these meetings since, as it turns out, our group will someday be the ones keeping the lights on and the doors open. I’m surprised (and excited!) to find that the elders in our church are so interested in our needs as a group.

I really enjoy and feel closest to God in a formal, high church worship setting with the acolytes, robes, paraments, candles, banners, chamber choir, rituals, and creeds—and I completely get that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Half our group loves the early service for its casual, upbeat nature and wouldn’t want it any other way. I think the greatest asset of our church is that we have both options to meet more needs. Since I’m the young adult representative for the late service, I discussed this article I found last summer in regards to our late service at church. Keeping in mind that I’m not really involved in the planning for the casual early service, my favorite excerpts from this article about young adults moving toward liturgical high church worship services in droves:

Ten or fifteen years ago, it was American evangelical congregations that seemed cutting edge. They had the bands, the coolest youth pastor, professional babysitting for every women’s Bible study, and a church library full of Christian novels. But now, to kids who grew up in that context, it seems a bit dated or disconnected—the same kind of feeling that a 90′s movie gives them. Not that it’s not a church; it’s just feels to them the way that 50′s worship felt to their parents. So they leave. If they don’t walk away from Christianity completely, they head to catholicism or something similar.

In a way, it’s hard to understand. Why would you trade your jeans, fair-trade coffee, a Bible and some Getty songs for formal “church clothes,” fasting, a Bible and a priest? It makes no sense to want to kneel on a stone floor instead of sit in a comfy chair. And if you’re hearing about Jesus anyway, why does it really matter?

Photo via Pinterest

Andrea Palpant Dilley explains her own shift from Presbyterianism to apostacy to generic evangelicalism to high church: “In my 20s, liturgy seemed rote, but now in my 30s, it reminds me that I’m part of an institution much larger and older than myself. As the poet Czeslaw Milosz said, ‘The sacred exists and is stronger than all our rebellions.’ Both my doubt and my faith, and even my ongoing frustrations with the church itself, are part of a tradition that started before I was born and will continue after I die. I rest in the assurance that I have something to lean against, something to resist and, more importantly, something that resists me.”

Open-air church service for troops in Europe. Ludgate Hill, London, 1915. Photo via Pinterest

In short, I just feel like our 2 services need to be distinctly different and separate in styles, rather than both meeting in the lukewarm middle ground of somewhat formal, somewhat casual. I don’t think that connects in an authentic way for our particular church. I would love to know—how do you like to worship? Why do you like it that way? I’m curious!


Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Daily Journal

13 thoughts on “#1,605 How We Worship.

  1. I used to be very active in my old parish, but ever since moving in with my boyfriend, I haven't been able to connect with my new parish. My old parish was very warm, with lots of (possible) input from youth and younger adults, upto a certain point, and I loved that I always felt at home when I went to Sunday Mass.
    The parish nearest to me is dying off, slowly but surely, and gives off that feeling. The old parish of my boyfriend is very strict (in my eyes) and though I love to go there for the Big Days (Easter, Christmas and such), it's not my thing for the normal week.

    The way I worship is more your early service, while my boyfriend would appreciate your late service. I can appreciate the late service, as long as I can have the early service as well 😉

    • Love this! I think it's our different preferences that make the best recipe for a church family. Don't you? Thanks for this, Camille!

  2. My hubby and I most definitely prefer a traditional format. We both grew up in the Catholic church, so stained glass windows, a pipe organ, and even squeaking, moaning wooden pews are just what we expect when we go to "church". Although every religion has its flaws and isn't perfect, I believe that's what's kept so many people Catholic: What you get in one Mass is identical to what you get at another. But, all in all, I think the charm & tradition of a service is what makes people focus on worshipping God and less on the fluff and pizazz of non-traditional services. Give me a pipe organ any day!

    • I've never been to a Catholic worship service but I would imagine it's really beautiful. One of these days!

  3. That gave me a flashback memory of when my parents were well into their 50's and I noticed on some paperwork that their Sunday school class was still named Young Adult– I mentioned that perhaps they should consider a new name or moving up to the next class– (there were many in the class the same age!)– he told me "we are still way younger than the really old people"– haha– now that I'm approaching that age, that somehow makes sense!! 🙂

    • OH MY GOSH that so happens at our church, ha! The cut off for 'young adult' was supposed to be 35, but they turn 36 and keep coming and we don't want them to ever leave… So we'll be doing the same thing. Ha!

  4. My husband and I prefer the "traditional" service at our church, but I do enjoy the early "contemporary" service when I attend it. I am glad that everyone can have a way to worship that is meaningful to each person. Having 3 teen boys, I always assumed they would like the early service but we always made them come with us as a family, however, they have each said they like the traditional service better.

    My only complaint when I go to the early service with the song words projected on the wall is that I need the music! I can't sing if I don't know the tune and don't have the music:)


  5. As a Catholic, it's probably no surprise that I prefer traditional worship services. Ha! I love the beauty of stained glass, Renaissance polyphony…so many beautiful things that help draw my mind up from the everyday to contemplate the glory of God. I know that, to some extent, that's a matter of personal preference, but I do love participating in a ritual that is larger than myself and my own tastes — worshiping in a way passed down through centuries, saying the words said by Christians a thousand years ago. It reminds me of my connectedness to the Church throughout the ages.

    So yeah, tradition fan all the way over here. 😉

    • I'm surprised by how many traditional folks there are here! It's all the rage around Laurel to go to the screens/rock show churches.

  6. I love this topic as it's very timely for me. I recently moved back to my home state after many years being away. I had a wonderful Lutheran congregation there where I felt at home. I knew it would be difficult to replicate but I didn't realize how much.

    I love the Lutheran litergy and hymns and am having a hard time finding a church that hasn't felt the need to inject a contemporary twist to it. I am so turned off by the big screen with the hymns and no music to follow. But fortunately there are many churches to to choose from so I keep checking out new places each Sunday. I am confident I will find a home.

    • You know—all I know about Lutheranism I learned from that moving Raising Helen (LOVE), and it seems pretty in line with Episcopal/Methodist worship from what I've googled? We don't have any Lutheran churches anywhere near here so I feel so ignorant! I so hope you find a church home soon. It's easy to feel sorta lonesome without a church family, I think.

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