Saturday, January 19, 2008

Choosing Fun Over Drudgery

I Refuse To Lead A Dying Church - Chapter 3

The simple yet powerful truth contained in this chapter is this: "When is the last time you had FUN in church?"

Paul Nixon writes in this chapter that it may seem a trivial thing to think about having fun in church and that it might be difficult to believe that a church might indeed choose drudgery. We called it other things like: discipline, tradition, duty, liturgy, order - what have you.

I would not say that we have chosen drudgery over fun, yet I do get the sense that we rather easily get our feathers ruffled and choose to talk and whisper and yes, gossip about what has not gone our way or about the things we disagree with. We have some learning and growing to do in that respect.

I am convinced that every word and action that comes from us both as a church and as an individual have to be ones that are filled with energy, positive comments and faithful service. It's about joy and positive energy! And it is about what will work best to reach the community, not what about will ensure my own fine sense of good taste. It should be fun to go to worship, regardless of the liturgical style.

Paul Nixon gives the following examples that bring fun to any worship service:
  • Gentle humor shared by the preacher
  • Music that the average person can hum on the way home
  • Color and festive decor in the room
  • A mix of predictability and surprise in the order of worship
  • A great music artist whose music is going to be a WOW for most in attendance that day
  • An interview with people who beiefly interact off -script, talking about their lives or mission experience or relevant experience
  • Taking worshio outdoors once or twice a year
  • The experience of "aha!" God talking to me
  • Pleasant interaction with people before, during and after worship
  • A special event outside of worship itself, a way to engage the community.

We have accomplished some of these things and found that they have added to our experience together. There are others I think are important that we could accomplish together.

*Color and festive decor: This year for Advent and Christmas we purchased some new banners for the front of the sanctuary. They were vibrant and added a new dimension to the worship space. We need more of them and more color and festive decor throughout the sanctuary and parlor. Banners and paraments are expensive to buy, but can be made simply and inexpensively by those who have an artistice flair. Is that something you or someone you know could do?

*Pleasant interaction before, during and after worship: A year ago after remodeling and updating the parlor, our interaction increased significantly. It have noticed it has taken a bit of a backstep recently. I have looked at the parlor space recently and think it needs some re-arranging, some new art and color and new ways to invite people.

One of the things we struggle with is our coffee and snacks and how we see that part of what we do. Paul Nixon asserts and I agree that we need to serve our coffee and snacks as people arrive and not as people are rushing to leave. I want to give people a reason to come early and spend time in that space and with other people. In the coming weeks we are going to be changing up the space and asking people to offer to being snacks early and invite people into conversation prior to worship.

I love having fun, laughing and sharing in the wonder of life. If we are willing to have fun, to reach out, to share in joy with others, our numbers will increase and we will grow. It is about evangelism and sharing good news. Our vision to be refreshed, renewed and revived is so compelling that we need to share it with others. We need to share it with anyone who will listen and then invite them to come along on the journey.

The possibilities are unlimited and are only curbed by our lack of courage and vision. Whatever it is we do as a church, we must find ways to have fun in the doing! Drudgery is deadly.

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