Postmodern Daydreaming

February 8, 2003

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
  • candles
  • 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!

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.