Priorities

If you think my blog was full of questions before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

I feel moved to ask a lot more. And to really, really listen – or read – and respond to the answers you put in the comments section.

It’s not some gimmick to build hits and visits on this blog (I really have no tracking software other than the “unique visitors” counter at the bottom right, which is flawed by what it measures). I’m always glad to have visitors, both lurkers and commenters. It’s not a ploy to convert one to the other.

Truth is, I really want to know what you think.

The first (three-part) question I want to ask is close to home with me. In my work as a communication specialist at my home church, I work with worship planning teams and our ministry staff; I organize/compile the visual presentations during the worship hour. I’m very involved in creating a recommendation for upgrading all of that hardware and software. So before my siblings spend a wagonload of buckage on it, I feel like I really need to know:

Is there a central or most important aspect of our worship time together? If so, what is it? What aspect(s) remain important, but subordinate to it?

I leave the word “aspect” completely open to your definition. Please feel free to comment anonymously if you prefer.

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9 thoughts on “Priorities

  1. Early last fall I read a book that–sort of like a smack in the head–highlighted what I am beginning to see as the most important feature of corporate (and private) worship: it’s not about us AT ALL! (Teaching Kids Authentic Worship: How to Keep Them Close to God for Life by Kathleen Chapman. It’s a book about children’s ministry and, though I work in college ministry, it was an amazingly rich resource.) Now, there are other things that are about us–praise, thanks, edification, etc., but worship–true worship–really is just about God. I think if I really got that, ministry in the worship band and in the college ministry would be entirely different

  2. Keith,I am not wise enough to know the “central” aspect. But I do wonder about one possibility: our coming together as brothers and sisters in order to bow at the throne of God. Contemplating who He is and reflecting upon who we are is certain to bring me to my knees. And doing this together seems, to me, much more powerful and overwhelming and “worshipful” than doing it alone in a closet. (Though I cherish my times alone with God.)Being with God and His people–now that can be (should be)life-changing!Just a thought.Kathy

  3. I wish I could answer your question. I’m more afraid that if it has an answer and if we found it we would then elevate it so much we would get everything out of proportion. In the old Scottish churches it was clear: Sunday morning was for communion (which often lasted forty minutes even when there were just a dozen of us) and Bible reading (it was read aloud, in its entirety every year). Sunday evening was for singing and evangelistic messages. I think that Rochester’s worship is more centered on song and prayer than anything else. I’m the pulpit guy but I’m glad I’m not the central focus of the day.

  4. I’m intrigued by what I’m seeing so far – keep ’em coming!Patrick … how did communion occupy 40 minutes or more?Laura … I think a banner reading “It ain’t about you!” in the front of the congregation might solve lot of problems!Kathy … I think you’re on to something, too – if God didn’t think community was important, we could all just worship in our closets. And maybe a lot of lives in the first three centuries of the church might have been saved ….

  5. One Sunday last fall our lead worshipper (as he prefers to be called) put a chair in the center aisle, near the front, and facing the band. He told the congregation that the chair represented our only audience–God. The band is not there for the congregation’s pleasure. Rather we are all there for God’s pleasure. I’m not sure how many got it.Maybe we need to work on getting that banner.

  6. Jared – thanks for commenting; is that a first here for you? – you’re pretty firm about that. Why is communion central?

  7. Sorry I haven’t commented as much lately, Keith. I “read” everyone all the time (you’re at the top of my list), but seem to stay really busy here, any more, since Katrina and I broke my foot and sometimes I want to think about things you’ve said, too, before responding.So, I’m just now speaking up on “Priorities.” I agree very much with several of your other commenters already, including Patrick, that the first purpose, if you will, or most important one, when we gather as God’s children on the first day of the week should be to come to the table together, as John Mark Hicks so eloquently talks about in his book and on his blog. He had some great reflections on that in his recent post at < HREF="http://professingprofessor.blogspot.com/2005/12/reflections-on-come-to-table-no-1.html" REL="nofollow">Professing Professor<> that I am emailing to all of our shepherds here at Tammany Oaks to consider.I’ve thought about all of this for a long time and beginning in about 1995, when we started a new congregation here in Slidell (which is now, sadly, defunct), I was really drawn to this aspect of our time together on Sundays.To me, the main reason we all come together once a week, on the first day of the week, is to “sit at the table” with Christ and God in an uplifting family meal (communion) together so that we can (1) remember that we are God’s children in this world, (2) so that we can commune with our “dad” and “older brother” and remember their love and sacrifices for us mere humans who they have brought into their eternal family beginning right now here on earth, and (3) we can be rejuvenated by our time together with each other, Christ and God as we go out the next six days of each week to do His will and show everyone else His love for all of us.Of course, worship is part of that, but to me, worship is something we engage in and which is an internal part of what we now are ALL the time as spiritual creatures and children of God. In other words, it’s like our spiritual DNA or life blood that is ALWAYS with us and part of all we are and do and think and feel, etc.And Kathy is SO right. We cannot do all of this alone at home in our closet with God. I’ve thought a WHOLE lot about all of this since I have been so confined at home for so many, many months of this past year and for a considerable amount of time the two years before that. Jesus tells us that where “2 or 3” are gathered together in His name, there He will be with us as we sing, pray, commune, worship, etc. God fully intended and created His church to be a commune. It all is a communal activity, just as family get togethers and reunions, etc.Just as we cannot engage in a family get together with our physical families without being present with other members, we cannot fully engage in all God intends for us to do unless we come together in at least a “group” of 2. I cannot commne with myself here at home on Sundays with my unleavened bread and grape juice or wine (which I have here at the house) because I am not in a family get together with the family (the 2 or 3, at least).All of those reasons are why I think we should come together on each first day of the week – Sundays – beginning with our communion together “at the table.”For what it’s worth . . ..

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