choice vs change

There is a discussion going around some church blogs…

Jenny said (and I’m quoting out of context, go and read the post)

“There are many in my church who chose not to go to a particular service because of it’s content, thus go another church service in order to be taught on that particular morning, and this happens on a regular basis.”

Then Gill responded (again, I’m picking and choosing here)

“A Church like St Silas is set up to embrace a wide range of views and styles of worship and services. [snip] … but there is a particular preacher who I will avoid if I know they are going to speak, so perhaps I am just writing all this in an attempt to justify myself! However, I wonder how exactly God is served or glorified by me sitting for 30 minutes plus in utter confusion. ”

So here is my 2p worth:

I think it is a good thing that people who are committed members of St Silas opt in to or out of certain services. Because the alternative would be that they are either forced to attend services they don’t like or every service must be to everyone’s taste.

At St Silas we are blessed with the ‘yes’ and ‘lets try that’ attitude that has allowed things like

* an evening praise service
* non liturgical service
* an all age service
* an alternative worship service
* a youth service
* sitting in rows or in the round or on the floor or moving around
* no service at all, but a concert or ceilidh or drama  instead

Sometimes these have not worked as well as expected but they have always been chances to learn.  And compare that to stores of churches where moving a lectern a few feet has to go through committees for months and even them half the church don’t agree with the decision.

I am glad that we don’t have a congregation (at least as far as I am aware) who don’t dig in their heals for what they are ‘comfortable’ with and leadership who can cope well with those who do object.  Obviously, I would hope that if people thought things were unbiblical or completely against the will of God then that is the time to stand up and resist anything like that, but we are talking about ‘taste’ and ‘style’ here.

Personally, I choose to ‘opt out of’ the 9am service.  Not because I don’t like the style, tradition, words, people or anything else – but because it is at 9am on a Sunday and generally I try to be asleep at that time!  I also opt out of the 7am Wednesday prayer meeting, Tots ‘n’ co, Women4Women, etc. for various (and obvious) reasons.

I am glad that people find something at St Silas worth committing to rather than insisting that everything is to their liking.

2 Responses to choice vs change

  1. Ooooooh! blog debate! how interesting. Arrrghh! Horror! I have become a blog nerd…… Ah well, at least I still wont buy a Mac, I have some pride left :)

  2. I think Paul would have commented on an issue like this if it came up in the Corinthian church, as it sounds like their kind of issue.

    A couple more thoughts:

    1. It can be good to go to a service where you don’t necessarily appreciate the preacher. It’s an act of determination and service to God, of “praising despite”. It’s bound to be character-building, and I think it’s a sign of maturity to be trained enough to get something out of a weak (or “not my style”) sermon/service.
    2. It’s excercising freedom in Christ to choose not to go to a service. That freedom has to be excercised carefully, though, because it can cause complacency in the Christian, and it’s the withholding of freedom which is usually best for learning discipline and maturity. Freedom is best appreciated by the Christian who knows the value of it when it is willingly sacrificed (as it was by Jesus). So it’s better not to go to church against your will (just praise God for the freedom!), but it’s also good to discipline your will.

    Being open with God about these things should help (God willing) either affirm your decision or challenge it.. If you’re still unsure, you need to decide on a practical basis. Are you up for the challenge? Or will it make you bitter?

    It’s good to support services that might not get a good turnout…but only if you’re supporting it in your heart.

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