We all know what an evangelist does…they preach! If they’re any good at all, they preach with great fervency. I’ve always been one of those guys when it comes to Evangelical worship. I have even often bashed anyone who wasn’t from that, “we do it right and you do it wrong,” school of thinking.
Recently, however, I have been learning to savor the not so subtle differences between Evangelical and liturgical worship. I have embraced my inner contemplative self and eschewed my more exuberant cheerleader persona.
Here’s what I’m learning.
[I’ve said some of this before, but I’m becoming more adamant with every passing day.]
Liturgical worship does not require me to fix it
It is not my responsibility to make special, invigorate, or make “work” any service of worship. It works all by itself. What a relief!
Long ago and far away, a pastor let me know, in no uncertain terms, that it would be my responsibility to create all of the great “moments” that happened in worship. He said it would be my job to “enliven worship.” Those were his exact words!
In the liturgical church there is an essential belief that God is worshipped, magnified, understood, and manifest within the structure and intent of the liturgy. Making it better has a somewhat negative connotation.
Liturgical worship allows leaders to, well…worship
One of the most refreshing things I’ve learned in a liturgical environment is that not being “on” all the time frees me up to actually be more reverent and attentive in worship.
I’m a pretty good production details kinda guy. Like a Cirque du Soleil rigger, I know how to get out of the way. Every church musician is a black-suited, back stage, and cleverly disguised purveyor of theatrical magic. Overstated? Not according to media tech production houses that currently make far more money in churches than they do from dinner theaters.
We get so good with the details of keeping the show alive and compelling that we often have to go to someone else’s church just to have time to sense the presence of God. I used to go to conferences just to avoid being in charge of “the show.”
Liturgical worship means never having to say you’re sorry
I’ve been “doing” church for a long time and I learned long ago that debriefing everything is the key to not making the same mistakes over and over again. If you’re in charge of worship, fix the problems every week…before they catch up with you! That’s the rule!
I can’t tell you how many times I have felt compelled to go to a senior pastor’s office and apologize for some gaff in last week’s service. Most of the time that was the appropriate thing to do, but here’s the thing…
I have yet to apologize to the pastor of my liturgical church. I’m not in charge of making worship work. I’m just sayin’!
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