Worship is not passive…its a doing, way of life!
by Jacob Juncker
I am incredibly intrigued by “alternative” modes of worship. What intrigues me most is that “alternative” worship styles may be the more historic means of reaching out and nurturing faith in Jesus Christ. That’s right, pews, organs and offering plates have not always been the norm. The earliest witnesses in the Bible talk of house churches that pooled resources such that no one lacked anything that they needed (see Acts 2:42-47). It also talks about living out worship such that all persons might “see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, Common English Bible). An active worship life–one that is lived out on a daily basis–inspires more worship…and it inspires me.
I think we’ve duped ourselves into believing that church is all about our entertainment. If we find something offensive or challenging, we simply “change the channel.” Church, in this mindset, is something we consume and we can go somewhere else if we don’t like it (taking our money with us). These ideas, whether they are implicitly or explicitly stated, make worship (and church) a passive activity. The New Testament, however, speaks of worship as something we do. Worship is an active way of life that draws others into the loving presence of Jesus Christ.
I believe faith is a continued conversation with God and neighbor: one that draws us closer, in love, to both. Weekly worship, then, is a means through which we keep the conversation going such that worship (conversation and relationship with God and neighbor) becomes our very way of life. Worship is not meant to be passive…its a doing, way of life! I think this model of being in worship–a type of worship that is not passive, but a vibrant life of self-giving to God and neighbor–is, perhaps, more faithful than sitting for an hour, hearing a 20 minute sermon, and singing some old (or even new) songs.
I ran across the below video while reading a recent issue of Circuit Rider (“holy conversation”, Feb/Mar/Apr 2011). The article is entitled “From Last Call to My Call.” I hope you enjoy the below interview with Jerry Herships, a Colorado pastor who is seeking to show one congregation how to live worship out more than one day a week.
Is the kind of worship talked about in this interview something that interests you? I wonder what an “after hours” type service might look like in Lafayette, Indiana, or in your context. What might it “do”? Where would it be? Who might come? And, most importantly, would those who come experience Christ? I’d appreciate your thoughts.