I found this one over on Justification Rules / My Heart and Conscience: Thoughts and such from Rev. Jay Hobson.
The past couple days I attended a conference for new pastors (1-3 years in the ministry). The topic was building ministry. I was saddened by the Kansas District in their attempt to show the newbies how to do worship.
There were three things I noticed about the conference:
1) Though the conference was called “building worship”, it wasn’t so much about worship as it was about exposing us to different forms of worship.
This could have been an immensely helpful conference. There are many ways in which we could have talked about building worship. We could have had a workshop that explores the options available in the Lutheran Service Builder. We could have talked about integration of choir/instrumentalists in the Divine Service (even include the soft rock options, if we must cover that). We could have talked about using the Synod-wide hymnal and its different services throughout the church year. We could have had a presenter on building the bulletin (or power point) to better assist with worship.
…but we didn’t do anything of the sort.Instead, we we taken to Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Leawood, KS. It’s a marvelous building. They have facilities that can make churches covet. However, the church was designed to lend itself solely to contemporary music. It had no organ. There were no stained glass windows. The altar was moveable. The cross can be removed completely from the sanctuary, and is on occasion. There were no pews, but locking chairs. Which, to be fair, is just fine. The church of God can exist even where there is nothing but his Word. Regardless, in this space we were taken through the steps of contemporary worship.
Here is the liturgy that we used on Monday night. Notice that the formula of worship is rather common among non-denominational churches. Other than the shout out to Holy Communion, it’s pretty much the same.
By the way, the confession was a “metaphor” taken from Ecclesiastes 2:1-11. And since this was a metaphorical confession, I guess the forgiveness was metaphorical as well because the Pastor did not declare those confessed sins as forgiven. Or perhaps it just wasn’t clear to me that he was saying that my metaphorical sins were forgiven. Which should raise red flags about clarity.
My main question for all this is: Why? Why all the changes, if many of the “parts” are still there?
The following morning, we were taken to St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Kansas City, KS. What an amazing congregation. It is an old established congregation, served by a wonderful pastor. They do such amazing works of service and have such a thriving social ministry, that it would do anyone who wants to know about such things to pick their brains.
At this congregation, we went through what the District Officers said was “traditional” worship. We used Creative Worship. My heart sink when I saw the liturgy. It had been tinkered with among other things. To be fair, the confession that it brings about is a specific one, but it doesn’t have the grind in it as when you confess before God that you are “poor miserable sinner” in need of his forgiveness. It’s really not all that “creative” as its name sounds anyway.
Again, my question: Why?
If you really want to read more about this conference and what’s going on in the Kansas District, click here to read the rest o the story, including:
2) We are not about forming a unified Synod, but about forming cliques for those within our Synod.
3) Are people really going to church for the right reasons? Are they really Christians?