Worship – what worship has developed into confuses me. It is the thought that worship is only done on Sundays that has become funny and cliché. How this thought of worshipping only inside the walls of the church in the form of singing and sermon on the weekends is beyond me. Could it be due in part to our individualistic culture and the loss of community in today’s church? The thought that we are only worshipping on Sundays is an argument we’ve all probably heard before, and yet we seem to be doing nothing about it. I wanted to share the idea of a visionary leader who worships God with everything that he/she has (Mark 12:30), what a true visionary looks like, and how they will have an impact on the church culture.
At Cornwall Church we sing and play a song by Todd Agnew, called Romans 12:1, which was written directly from a letter addressed to the Romans in which the Apostle Paul made the urging plea for people to “offer bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God”, calling it our “spiritual act of worship”. Calling people to no longer conform to the world, Paul asks for a renewal of our minds and to witness transformation within ourselves. Only then will we find God’s will – “his good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-3). Once we have found God’s will in our lives, we must not keep it for ourselves, for we are called to let our light shine before others (Matthew 5:14-16) and proclaim repentance and forgiveness and to be witnesses (Luke 24:44-49).
Here is where the idea of a visionary leader takes place. A visionary leader is not someone who boldly faces the future in order to see what God is doing in the church. Instead, a visionary worship leader looks to history to see what God has done in order to build the future. Whether looking at their personal history or the church’s history, a visionary is able to teach and aid others with worship in a variety of ways, beyond Sunday morning or Saturday night, creating the spiritual worship as Paul had mentioned.
My hope is that we will consider our worship of God in a more serious light beyond ourselves, and so I wanted to leave us with these questions: What are we learning either historically or personally and how are we applying it to our personal worship of God and/or aiding others to live a life as described in Romans 12:1? Also, are we looking behind us in order to teach others, or are we simply facing forward waiting for somebody else to show us God’s will?
I went to a creative planning meeting for my church yesterday and somebody asked me what my initial thought was of the meeting. “I have just wasted two hours and ten minutes of my life”, I replied, “I want them back.”
Another easter has come and gone, and the church continues to dupe the unchurched into a message which instead of telling the truths of Jesus, tells them of their stupidity for not believing in Jesus and asks them to join their club. I get so sad when we are consistantly reminded of how “christmas and easter are the two biggest holidays in which the non churched come to church” and we are asked to bring our non churched friends to church so that we can reach out and share the good news of the risen christ, only to have them hate us because they waste an hour of their sunday being lectured to.
At my church we do this thing called “one life” – a person that you are inviting to church because they need to be saved. “Be praying for your one life”, “Make sure you are thinking about your one life and inviting them” – both common christianese thrown around my church around this time of year. The thing is, I don’t invite anyone, because I don’t want to invite them only to feel like an asshole for inviting them to a lecture on why they should believe in Christ. Shoot, I could do that! Why don’t they pay me money as their offering and I’ll let them into my church for the sexy people…
Has it really been 16 years to the day since the death of Kurt Cobain? I don’t like to throw around the word “genius”, but I really think that Kurt Cobain was pretty close. He fronted a musical revolution filled with slackers, inspired millions of kids (including this one) to play guitar, and hearing his music today you can hear his influence on other songwriters. Like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain died before we could hear what he could actually accomplish or see him fall completely on his face instead of shooting it off with a shotgun.
PS- Layne Staley from Alice in Chains died four years ago around this time. His actual time of death is approximated to today because his body was dead for two weeks before it was discovered.
I went to a service at Mars Hill this week as an experience for one of my worship classes at TWU. They are one of the fastest growing churches in the nation right now and are led by Mark Driscoll. Before I went to the church, I wrote down some thoughts as to what I thought the church service and congregation would look like so if this looks like a critique, unfortunately right now it is. This is just so I can begin my paper, but I wanted to share what I thought with you and also that my predictions of waht to expect before I got there were pretty accurate.
Mars Hill is an Mega Church which appeals mainly to sarcastic, artistic students who are looking for some help as they are on spiritual journey searching for some kind of truth. THough Mars Hill helps students find their way through this, it is a very cold church. Nobody seems friendly, the music is loud (am I getting old?!?), their is no eye contact from the stage – the list goes on and on. When I first walked in, I sat for an hour in thier foyer and nobody said hello or anything; not even the people at the information kiosk!
THe message was filled with sarcasm and talked poorly about other religions and other philosophies – Islam, Mormons, and New Age – and called them stupid; even making a joke that he was “sweating like Mike Tyson in a spelling bee” and when not a lot of people laughed he said that he thought that joke would get “a few more laughs than that”. He also talked about how if he wasn’t a christian, he would turn the church into a strip club, drink a lot and jump the walls of the playboy mansion – which I didn’t think was offensive, but he kept dwelling on this point for at least ten minutes too long. I thought that the most ironic part of his sermon was when he told us that “never follow a white guy from the midwest who says he has a religion (mormons)”, and later gave us the history of Mars Hill and told us how he started Mars Hill from 12 people in his home and had grown it to thousands and they were adding a new venue in west Seattle. The direct correlations were somewhat humorous.
There is a pressing for theology in the church, which I did like. It was evident in his talk as his sermon revolved around christ’s death, his ressurection, and his eventual return and what will happen afterwards; not your normal mega church seeker sensitive message material. The church also has a film theology club where they watch movies and search for the correlations within the movie and christian theology. Also in the Mars Hill monthly magazine, there was an article about Martin Luther which said to me that this church pressed education amongst the people. But it was ironic how this church had zero participation from teh congregation. As the many books that I want to write ten years too late said, “welcome to the new reformation”.
The one thing that I applaude Mars Hill for is that they know their audience. THey know who they are talking to and they are relevant with their talks…but I think that’s about all that I could applaud them for.
This Weeks Soundtrack
U2-How to dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Counting Crows-Recovering the Satelites
Busta Rhymes-When Disaster Strikes
Jars of Clay-Redemption Songs
Stone Temple Pilots-Purple
Prince-THe B-sides (Disc 3)
The INN-Empty I Come