[from Newsletter 8-26-09]

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-changes, Oh, look out you rock n rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-changes, Pretty soon now you’re gonna get a little older
Time may change me, But I cant trace time
- David Bowie, 1971

No one likes to face the strain of getting older. The first time I heard this song I was in the fourth or fifth grade. Now that I’m realizing that there may be fewer days ahead than there are behind, I understand the song better. David Bowie knew 38 years ago that even “rock n rollers” were going to get older and face the strain of change and getting older.

We all witnessed changes in our sanctuary furniture the past three weeks. I heard people say they liked the new changes. I heard people say that they didn’t. Folks were mad I changed things. Folks were mad that I changed them back. Some didn’t like the way the choir looked. Many liked a central pulpit. Others want a split chancel (pulpit/lectern) with a central table.

The reality is I can make historical, theological, and liturgical cases for each configuration. The split chancel and central altar-table comes from the Roman Catholic tradition (although the pulpit is supposed to be stage right and the lectern stage left – ours are opposite of that). A central or single pulpit (called an ambo) comes from the Protestant tradition. To have the chancel (“stage”) as elevated as we have it at RUMC is really more from the evangelical/free tradition than liturgical tradition. Our choir sits in the very front of the church, which is also from the evangelical/free tradition. If we were following traditional church architecture, the choir should either be split in half facing each other (with the altar/table in the very front of the church) or should be in the balcony.

We obviously are a mixture of all of these – which is neither right nor wrong. It has served us well for many years. My purpose is moving some of the things around was to look at the possibilities for the future. Change is inevitable, and if we want to continue to make disciples for Jesus Christ, we have to be sure we are ready for the everchanging world to communicate the Gospel as clearly and effectively as we can.

One of the things the last Council on Ministries meeting did was to make a recommendation for a new wor-ship chairperson, and empowering the worship committee to explore how we might commission a new worship service to reach out to the younger adults and unchurched of our area. This worship service will no doubt look differently than the two present services that we have. It might result in having a third service. It will take a lot of study and prayer to discern what will work best for us. However, we have a finite amount of space, and a new worship service will necessarily mean flexibility in our present space to accommodate musicians, different modes of preaching and communicating the Word, and other aspects that we have not even considered yet.

Is this different? Yes. Will it mean changes? Yes. Will all of us like them? No. Being the traditionalist that I am, I am quite sure I will not like them either. But I don’t think God cares what we like and what we don’t: he asks us that if we love Him, we will feed his sheep.

Are we willing to make changes to feed the sheep and make disciples? That is something we will have to pray about.



Rich said…
Please do not forget these sage words ...

"When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can become deadly projectiles."
Bro. Dave said…
"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory." ~W. Edwards Deming

"Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine." ~Robert C. Gallagher

"God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me." ~Author Unknown
hulagirlatheart said…
LOL-I love Brother Dave's last quote. Can we play Bruce Springsteen's version of Mary Don't You Weep?

Still praying.