Monday, January 12, 2015

Church Service - Can/Should it be different

I don't want to claim to have any answers in this.  I only have thoughts based on where I am at right now. I was recently reading a blog by Skye Jethani in which he pointed out how many have stopped using non-Christian and interchanged it with un-churched.  We have moved the goal from helping people to see God, to getting people to church.  The idea that church is the goal is concerning when traditionally a majority of the time they are at the church they are spoke AT and sometimes aren't even presented with a concept of who God is. What if instead of trying to bring people to church we tried to introduce them to God and help them develop that relationship.

I have the above thought in mind while fleshing them out through the topic below.

Have you ever wondered if our American way of doing church services should look different than it currently does?  It seems like for the most part a majority of churches operate very similarly.  They contain some sort of "Sunday School" which is a smaller class size education course, a time of music, and a time in which a Pastor speaks to the body as a whole about a topic/passage of scripture.

 I have began to question why?

Do we do it because it is the way we have always done it?  Do we do it because we believe it's what the early Church did?  Do we do it because we don't know any other way?  Do we do it because it's what is culturally accepted?

It seems to be generally accepted that the pastors sermon is the "main event" of the Sunday morning Service. Why? Perhaps I miss the point of sermon, but I would say it is generally a teaching/motivating period in which the Word is laid out in a manner in which it applies to our lives as a congregation.  I'm sure there is more to it than that and maybe some churches are different, but it seems to be the overall goal.

 According to Times Higher Education,
"more than 700 studies have confirmed that lectures are less effective than a wide range of methods for achieving almost every educational goal you can think of. Even for the straightforward objective of transmitting factual information, they are no better than a host of alternatives, including private reading. Moreover, lectures inspire students less than other methods, and lead to less study afterwards. 

For some educational goals, no alternative has ever been discovered that is less effective than lecturing, including, in some cases, no teaching at all. Studies of the quality of student attention, the comprehensiveness of student notes and the level of intellectual engagement during lectures all point to the inescapable conclusion that they are not a rational choice of teaching method in most circumstances."

Why then, is this still the method of choice?  Why then do we repeat it over and over.  I'm sure we would all agree that the Holy Spirit has certainly moved in this format and can certainly defy scientific reasoning, but should our services mimic that of the school systems in hopes that it will make people more comfortable and feel at home?  Are there other reasons? I certainly don't want to limit God to only one way of working, but have we?

Feel free to share your thoughts, I welcome the feedback as I am on this journey.

I will examine the other major parts of the service in days to come.