Let’s shake it up in church…
…because the same things every Sunday become a boring routine.
Sometimes we hear this sentiment, with some ministers responding by being creative, yet without rocking the boat. People like change, and often we hear comments when some things go differently. Yes, let’s shake it up, right?
A few decades ago Reformed churches in The Netherlands did the same. Today you may experience palm branches, skids, interviews, questions and answer moments, musical performance, testimonies, alternative instruments, YouTube clips, and more. A Dutch pastor, creatively experimenting with new forms of liturgy and worship, currently living in the UK, reflects in an article in the newspaper “Nederlands Dagblad”: “Three benefits of a classic liturgy: rest, complexity, and integrity”.
A few quotes from this article:
►“I realize more and more that I don’t meet God in the cozy and social interactive environment of an informal church service, but in the stillness of the ancient liturgy.”
►“Churches with a more experimental and informal liturgy are usually more restless.”
►“The fixed elements of liturgy create a space where I can meet God”
►“The fixed order contains layered depth. There is a space for every experience of the human life: for happiness and joy, for sadness and sorrow, for thankfulness and gratitude, for doubt and anxiousness.”
►“Holding on to the old liturgy ensures that the church service does not turn into a performance. In our lives everything has to be beautiful, successful, and busy – how wonderful it is to be able to find a place where you can fall back on centuries-old wisdom which ignores the hypes of the present.”
►“I suspect that young people will rediscover the tranquility and space where the old liturgy is used.”
Don’t forget, this is written by a pastor, previously convinced that traditional liturgy was boring and stone-aged, causing young people to leave.
This pastor came full-circle. But only because of an experience in another denomination in another country.
Churches should not change the liturgy or “spice it up”, to come full circle in a few decades as well (losing a lot). Instead look around and take notice what happened and happens in other churches, and -most important- reflect on your ancient liturgy…