The Sabbath worship service is the high point of a congregation’s weekly engagement with the church, and yet it is rarely evaluated for effectiveness. Personally, I have never heard anyone step back and ask, “Why are we doing things this way?” After years studying God’s vision for how to be a church, I have decided to share my reflections regarding this central feature of Christian life. My goal is to open a way for the worship service to become far more transformative, life-giving, and inspiring.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2023/redefining-modern-worship-service
Kim, I really appreciate what you have shared here,
Although I appreciate connecting with my SDA community friends on the Sabbaths I am able to attend church services “live” … I yearn for something different than I actually experience.
I love singing (harmony) with familiar music. I appreciate sharing meals and conversation together during potluck events.
I appreciate that the pastor (or whomever is presenting in the pastor’s absence) has put many hours into the message s/he is sharing from up front … as have the many others who share the Children’s Story, organize and share the musical sing along (and/or the musical sit-and-listen … ) aspects of the service.
What I truly YEARN FOR, though, … and haven’t yet found on Sabbath mornings at the to church I attend here in Maine (yes, I remember when you were in nearby Freeport) … is an opportunity to just comfortably share what has been most meaningful for me in my personal, independent study of scripture during the past week.
I don’t follow the sabbath school lesson. I’m not able to be at church often enough to to keep abreast of what the alternative sabbath school classes are going to be discussing (I prefer to continue in my own scriptural rabbit holes anyways).
I would love to be able to participate in something like the “BLURB CLUB” experience (offered by the Portland Public Library twice monthly) where participants could each have a few minutes … within a small group scenario … to share what they have been focusing on, and how they find it meaningful. And WITHOUT someone else derailing with “You’re Wrong!” or “The Bible is Clear!” type of comments. I’m not able to attend frequently enough to offer to facilitate something like this.
Where does one go from here?
Calling the hour together on Sabbath morning “The Worship Service” can easily imply that it is the pinnacle of worship, …
Once I was old enough to think for myself, I found it weird that listening to a sermon was considered the high point of “worship”.
Doesn’t sounds too small-church friendly, given the specific requirements you list compared to what most small churches do w/r/t the quarterly, etc. Why not start up a Zoom Sabbath School that does exactly that? Maybe you can find some kindred spirits from around the world to join you?
I remember once when the then pastor of the Loma Linda University Church, Bill Loveless, stood up and said, “If you think you are going to get everything you need for spiritual growth from the 11:00 sermon, I have bad news for you”. At least that’s my paraphrase. But of course, he was right.
Thanks for a great article…I look forward to the sequel.
Zooming with kindred spirits might be as magical as stumbling upon, and sharing, vermillion-hued shakshuka and licorice mint tea with kindred spirits in a location as remote as the White Sands Treasured memories!
Although I participate in Zoom events when invited, I guess I’m not motivated enough to invest in the privilege of hosting and promoting such things. Oh well!
And I really would like to connect and interact in a more meaningful way (for me, anyways) in my “home” church, which actually is the largest church in our conference. Then again, I can’t be there often enough to offer to facilitate what would be meaningful for me. Oh well!
Oh, it’s YOU! We made good use of your hot pads this year! Was reminded of you many times.
I understand the reluctance to take on the organization/execution tasks. It is a commitment, and one has to weigh the cost/reward.
Hope life is treating you well!
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