A couple days ago, I sent the following daydreaming to my pastor:
Wouldn’t it be fun to try a cafe-style evening with:
- the lights dimmed
- lights on the art on the walls
- communion (can be done in a variety of ways)
- Scripture reading (by someone who’s really good at reading)
- poetry reading
- photo essay / video essay
- Psalm-like songs — not necessarily meant for people to sing along with. Like many psalms, a song might start out as a complaint and end in praise.
- short, simple message
- some means for people to interact with God (other than sit and listen) — for example, journaling. Write a letter to God. Or, write a letter from God.
- anything that’s not passive
- artistic visuals throughout
…I’m just dreaming out loud…
But this morning I realized a danger to all this, and that is focusing on what should be “done” in a “service.” You can try to be hip and call it a “gathering,” but that doesn’t change the emphasis on running a large meeting. As Jordon Cooper says, you can end up with “modernity with candles.”
I don’t have anything against large meetings — I think they are valuable. But why do churches expend so much energy on them, when I believe that lasting change happens in small groups and vital relationships? There’s even a danger in focusing on the meeting part of small groups, and missing the relationships!