Friday, June 18, 2004

Our world is changing. Programs will come and go. Authentic communities will survive and thrive. Churches must realize there's a great generational shift going on, and the new generation (the postmoderns if you will) does things in different ways, but still need to be cared for.

I am concerned churches will get the idea they have to start 'postmodern ministry' just as in the past they felt they had to have a youth pastor, children's pastor, singles group, nursery ministry, etc. I fear churches will think they have to, and out of obligation will hire someone to run the ministry.

I think a better model is to not think of it as another ministry, but think of it as ministry. Does that make sense? Postmoderns seem turned off by anything that smacks of being a program. For reasons both right and wrong.

I would hope churches would realize they don't need a new ministry, but a new outlook, which is easier said than done of course.

I would encourage churches to really study postmodernism, and study postmoderns. Find ways to interact with them. Befriend them. Not just to make them a project, but because you care. People of any generation and worldview want to be loved and cared for and respected and listened to. So go do that.

It's hard to visualize, because it's not program driven, or numbers driven, but rather relationship driven. That's hard to quantify and collect data on and show results on. But I think relational ministry is where it's at. Churches need to realize hiring a pastor to reach postmoderns may not work. It's going to take the collective work of the church. Everyone has a role to play. We still need shepherds to guide us, but we also need to realize we're all part of the body, and can't pawn off our work on another paid staff member, when in reality our lives need to be our ministry, because we need vital relationships to spread the gospel.

We need to question more than forms of worship, but why we worship, and what worship is. Not to redefine it, but to reclaim it.

Worship isn't just song time, or an hour (or two) on Sunday morning. It a lifestyle.

When we do gather for corporate worship, we want to participate, not be spectators.

I think we need to ditch some of our so called worship songs. How am I supposed to worship other when I'm always talking about myself. Plus many songs don't allow us to be honest. Can you honestly sing a song with phrases like "I will" or "I always"? I can't. I won't always turn to God. I know I should, but even the writers of scipture don't make such claims that they will always do what's right? No. Why is the focus on us, and our response? Isn't that missing the point? My pastor friend doesn't like these songs, because as a leader he feels accountable for misrepresenting God's truth, for sugarcoating it, and putting the focus on us. And he doesn't want to be responsible for that. He wants people to be honest. He doesn't want to play songs that don't encourage honesty. I totally respect him for that.

Back to the point, I hope worship leaders, songwriters, pastors re-think the way they do things. We should value authenticity and honesty in our relationships with God. We need pastors who can help us, and leading by example doesn't hurt.

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