Thursday, December 2, 2010

reinvigorating the banquet

Typically I try to avoid playing traffic cop, but Justin Taylor over at the Gospel Coalition recently posted an encouraging video that communicates what Taylor calls "the compelling vision" of a group named Bifrost Arts. You can access this particular post by clicking here. Below are some of the insights from Isaac Wardell, the Creative Director of Bifrost Arts, as heard in the video on Taylor's blog:

When I walk into churches, I notice a disturbing trend that people are singing less and less in congregations while our music production values may be getting better, while many of us have churches where we spend a lot of time thinking about the quality of the performance of our music, that congregational voices seem to be fading into the background...

More and more it seems like people show up to church and they expect to have a worship experience delivered to them rather than people showing up excited to sing together...

...there aren't really a whole lot of things you need to have a time of worship

This last line was, for me, especially refreshing to hear. Within this past year, a particular group arrived in town to plant a new church. Before the group met, or perhaps in their perception before they could meet, in a public building, their website listed their "startup needs," which consisted of thousands of dollars of sound and lighting equipment, video projectors and other materials aimed at producing a particular type of worship experience. Not that these are intrinsically corrupt by any means, but I couldn't help but consider the ill-placed priorities, and the realization that this has become the commonality, it has become the standard. How did we get so far from the simplicity of worshiping together in Spirit and in truth? I still keep this list of so-called "startup needs" as a stark reminder for myself.

Again quoting Wardell:

I think its important that we urge our congregants not to think of the worship service as a concert hall, as a time that we come to receive something, but to think of our worship service as a banquet hall where we come to participate in something together.

That something is not mere entertainment, it is the active, communal participation in the adoration of the Triune Godhead through song.

1 comment:

  1. And how reinvigorating this is to read as well! I can't tell you how many times I've heard people criticize churches due to lack of "good worship".... as if the whole SERVICE isn't worship!? As if our LIVES aren't worship!! Thanks for this Phil...what a great reminder!