I said something this morning that I now regret.
It was at a staff meeting. My involvement minister asked us if we had any further thoughts about and/or could support before our elders a proposal made by an interning minister (not present).
I confessed complete ignorance and asked what the proposal was, since I had evidently missed the staff meeting where it was discussed.
My involvement minister explained that it was a proposal to begin an alternative worship time, after our 5:00 Sunday evening worship time – nothing way out of the ordinary, but different. He explained it better than I can relate it, and received a couple of compliments on his summary.
Otherwise, there was silence. The uncomfortable kind. Never one to let an opportunity pass to speak my mind and reveal the full extent of my ignorance, I said, “I am unequivocally ambivalent about it. I don’t want anything that further separates us … having first and second services out of seating necessity isn’t even my preference. On the other hand, I would love to be a part of such a worship. I think my kids would love it, and get a lot out of it. So that’s where I sit.”
From scattered responses that followed, I could tell that no one was particularly happy with that as an answer. Some obviously felt disappointed that there was neither outright support nor outright opposition to it – and the reason for the disappointment between those two options pretty much divided by age.
(In the end, the wise decision was made to table the proposal, since our ministry intern will soon graduate and possibly leave us for full-time employment … and we hope to soon hire a singles minister, possibly with some great worship leadership skills. So it wouldn’t be good to either strand a group that was very happy with their alternative worship time or to saddle a new minister with their expectations.)
Still, I really regret what I said. Not that it wasn’t true, or that I didn’t really mean it, or that I don’t stand by it as the way I feel.
But that I missed the opportunity to say what I should have said.
Worship isn’t about us.
It isn’t about what we like or dislike. It isn’t about what will draw more people into our building, or make us comfortable.
It should be both an individual and a corporate expression of our praise to the Almighty in His Spirit and through His Son.
It should make us uncomfortable with our relationship with Him, yearning for more and stronger and closer.
It should be an opportunity to yield our preferences and serve the preferences of others … and be blessed by their willingness to yield to ours when it happens.
It should be a time of community, of sharing, of communion.
It should be a time when everything we express to God comes from the heart, undiminished by concerns for self.
Its fine points and details should be of absolutely no concern to us, as long as we are doing our best to please God. So whether we meet as one group or two or two dozen LIFE Groups; whether we sing certain kinds of songs; whether we close on time or go a little long; whether we stand, sit, kneel, or roll over – not one of those things should matter to us if they don’t matter to God.
If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know exactly what I believe and therefore what I should have said.
I didn’t say it.
And I am ashamed.