Finishing My Building

So, in a matter of 2 days I will attempt to finish my hypothetical church. It has proven to be more interesting and more challenging than I thought. I have been reminded of dear friends from the past and special moments  that occurred in the buildings  that we like to call church. As I hope to show more so today, those facilities, while important, are not in the real sense, the  church. In fact,  at  least 3 of the places where we have worshipped, one only as guests, the buildings really didn’t even look like a  traditional church building.

So, now for the harder part. What kind of worship and teaching and preaching will we have? Up until about 10 years ago, all of our worship had been in traditional Baptist churches in an almost exclusively traditional format. One( my home church) was independent Baptist and the others were Southern Baptist. The formats were very similar, congregational singing, welcomes  and announcements, passing of offering plates, special music by choir or soloist, sermon of varying length, and an invitation or altar call for some type of individual decision. Services generally began and ended at about the same time every Sunday. Hymn books were employed, usually a printed order of service and little variation except on special occasions. Of course, attire was also similar, ” dress-up clothes”, one might say. Now, is any of this inherently good or bad. I know well some who would say yes with  no equivocation. Having experienced it that way  for so long and then moving in another direction I would say that it is neither.

So, my services will a bit of the traditional, an order of service but with flexibility. A definite starting time but no locked in end. If one must leave at noon, so be it. Hymnals are optional, but a mixture of contemporary and more traditional music would be employed. I like some use of technology, video screens etc, but not too much. I really would not have a choir per se, but rather more of a worship team  with a  mixture of instrumentation. I have written before about worship styles and this is a tough one. My preference, since this is my hypothetical church, leans toward the casual but sans sloppiness.

Finally, with a  nod to my Pentecostal brethren ( I have been called a Bapticostal by one pastor of mine) , I would leave room for the working of  the Spirit as it is sometimes called. A better explanation can be found on the Assemblies of Godwebsite under beliefs. I realize this area can be one of disagreement in some Christian circles but I would hope not a make or break issue.

I know I do not  have a church with all  the needed elements, but it hopefully gives us a small glimpse into all the features that come together to make a church. One closing line that I think all churches could use more of;  to be  place where everyone knows your name and they are always glad that you came- Cheers!


July 13, 2009 Posted by | Christianity, church | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Have a Favorite Style ? ( And Should You ) Part II

Continuing with yesterdays subject of worship , I want to go beyond music to other elements of a service of worship . This one is not as significant , I guess and perhaps not even an issue  to most folks  . Does what one chooses to wear have an impact on worship, one’s own or someone else’s  ?

Growing up in a very traditional albeit very rural church you can imagine the type of clothes that people wore . For the most part , our church was composed of blue collar folks who looked forward to Sunday and wearing their  Sunday best . My mother was a classic example . She worked in  a textile mill and came home covered in cotton most of the time . But on Sunday , it was the dress , the shoes , the hat ( yes, the hat ) and the pocketbook all color coordinated . Did it make her more worshipful than some one who didnt go to those lengths, probably not . But , to her , it was the only way .

The ” dressing up ” approach was generally the approach I followed for many years and I never thought much about it since virtually everyone did the same . But I can remember a few folks in  one of the ” First ” churches we attended dressing somewhat casually and not being appalled but feeling that they probably should know and do ” better ” .( Now , bear in mind that I am not by any means criticizing the dress of those who dont have choices . )

Over time ,  the more casual attire has become more and more common except in the more traditional churches . In some places a coat and tie are  more or less out of sight, out of mind .

Now , does this mean that anything goes since after all , God  looks not on the outward appearance but on the heart ? Now  , funny though it may sound this is an issue that I have wrestled with from time to time with no clear answer . Having said that , I have reached a conclusion of sorts that makes a bit of sense, at least to me . One should dress for church in a way that makes  him or her comfortable or that is appropriate for the type of church that they attend . But , dont dress in such a way that one calls undue attention to oneself thus  drawing attention and focus away from where it needs to be .

December 1, 2008 Posted by | Christian living, church | , , , | 2 Comments

Do You Have a Favorite Style ? ( And Should You ? ) Part I

At church today , the sermon was on ” Politically Incorrect Worship ”  and an interesting message it was . I have learned over time that a ” good ” sermon isnt always one that I totally agree with or that makes  me feel good . Today’s sermon hit the mark on both counts .

My wife was unable to attend today so she asked for a summary or synopsis or whatever when I got home . About 15 minutes later, I finished  . To her credit , she didnt complain about the length of my summary . I dont want to rehash the entire sermon per se but rather make some comments about how it affected me and some of the thoughts it generated . However , you can hear the sermon in its entirety if you wish . Go to newcommunitychurch.net sometime tomorrow and have a listen.

Over the years, due to moving etc we have attended probably 40 or more churches , some as actively involved , others as inquiring guests , others due to church responsibilities . Naturally , there are various ways /styles that worship is carried out . The music styles vary widely, due to skill levels, worship leader’s methods or proclivities etc . While music is not the end all , it does set the stage for good or bad  . We have been in churches with wonderfully talented, traditional music programs, talented ” contemporary ” music programs , good ole Southern gospel etc . We have been drawn to a church by its music and  ” turned off ” a church by its music . Must a church have good or exceptional music to have effective worship ; probably not but neither do I think falling back on Psalm 100: 1 is a valid excuse . Darlene Zschech is well known as a worship at her church in Sydney ,Australia as well as a singer and songwriter . I once read an interview in which she was asked about her role as worship leader . Two things stood out :

  • She had 20 minutes , generally , available for worship music
  • She told the interviewer that was ok, that she and the music were not the main show

That to me says that music had the appropriate but not the focal place in the service .Great attitude on her part and a good example .

I hadnt intended to devote the entire post to music related issues, so I will attempt to continue tomorrow .


November 30, 2008 Posted by | Christianity, church, Music | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments