Below is an article by author Sally Morgenthaler in which she rethinks her own paradigm, which could be described as Worship Evangelism. (That was a title of her book.) I will give her (or anybody) the freedom to rethink previously-held positions, and I agree with much of what she writes in this article, but I had this nagging feeling like “What does such a successful author and speaker really have to say to those who serve in congregations that will never be the marquee churches that get written about?” or to those about whom ministry books will never be written, or to pastors/worship leaders/church planters who will never be invited to speak at an event, let alone sought after on the Christian speaking circuit.
Oh well, there is still much to be gleaned from her article. I at least want to say to Sally: Welcome to reality! Sorry it took you so long. (But hey, she’s published, and nothing happens unless The Published write about it and the masses then read it as though it’s finally true (e.g., Barna’s “Revolution”), and 2) it’s not nearly so much an either/or proposition: worship is multi-faceted (it’s both inside and outside).
The seeker-service hope of attractional worship had a very short shelf-life – 1980s-1990s tops – but people still do respond to felt needs being met. If we were present during the week of the passion of Christ, we might have said his “attractional” model had run its course. In response to Sally’s article, the reality is that Christ was interested BOTH in those who yet needed to know the gospel as well as those who travelled with him as learners (disciples), not just one over the other.
I’m glad for Sally and the courage she has to travel this part of her journey. I can relate in many ways. I’m also glad worship can be seen for what it always has been – freed from the chains of needing to be “seeker-friendly” and living in the realm of authenticity. We in the church today are easily drawn to the latest “silver bullet.” Let’s just make sure we don’t make relationships the latest ballistic metric we bank on but, rather, live out the hope of the gospel in the many-spendored contexts in which we exist.
In Christ alone,