Picture it: the sudden crescendo before the chorus, the key change after the bridge, the endlessly repeating final line combining to form emotional tactics musicians use to elicit responses from a crowd.

In a concert you feel connected to the music and everyone around you. In church you feel connected to the music, everyone around you, and maybe God as well.

But here’s a question: why has Christian worship been reduced to 5 songs and a really long sermon (add in some liturgical elements of that’s your cup of tea)?

Can we do better?

Gatherings are supposed to be moments for the community to draw together and worship God the Father rightly; celebrate the work of his Son in the past, present, and future; and become alerted by the sending Spirit who guides in the participatory journey of joining God’s dream of righting wrongs in the community.

There’s nothing wrong with 5 songs, announcements, 2 songs, and a sermon. There’s a problem when this routine repeats 50 weeks of the year (less Easter and Christmas when there’s a skit).

If your community gatherings stretch across boundaries (age, cultural, income, other demographics) shouldn’t worship be as eclectic? (Gatherings by the way include these boundaries colliding in worship, not shipping away the kids and teens and feeding babies somewhere else.)

Expressions shouldn’t look homogeneous.

But then again maybe we reap what we sew. Homogeneity occurs when a dis-empowered congregation looks the same, talks the same, etc.

The first step to solving this may be turning worship times away from being mere moments of emotional (music) and rational (most sermons) experiences lead by the chosen few, and towards relational moments as well. Not just brief post-service coffee times either. Perhaps we can stretch beyond superficiality and into an exercise of worship experiences that are in fact full on spiritually formative services as well.

Picture courtesy of Chris Moncus ; Flickr.