Rants

Recanting Worship Evangelism

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,

Todd

Click here for “Worship As Evangelism”

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Recanting Worship Evangelism

  1. Jim,

    Thanks for the comment. I do not consider myself “emergent,” especially in the way you describe it. I hold to objective truth, to the scriptures as God’s word (and words – how’s that for a conservative position?) and the final authority for our preaching, teaching, living, believing – all of life.

    I would distinguish between “emergent” and “emerging” in that “emerging” is just part of the trajectory of the journey – there are new vistas (and sometimes directions) that are encountered throughout life. Emergent is a bit more difficult to define and seems to be described more around personalities than theology.

    But to your main question: I am not post-modern in the sense that post-moderns to not hold any hope of a grand narrative into which their own narrative fits. The gospel of Jesus Christ IS THE grand narrative that we need to preach, teach, and live. Life and knowledge is not an illusion. Language is not (ontologically) a linguistic lever of control and power. The idea of truth being more (exclusively?) subjective, I believe, flows more out of hyper-modernity than post-modernity, but regardless, truth is more than just a subjective (blind) hope in something; there is objective truth that can be known; I would just add that we (finite beings) cannot know it exhaustively, and so I encourage a humble-holding of objective truth. Even the scriptures, which I believe are objective truth, is understood through our own subjectively-influenced eyes, and so while I unswervingfly hold that we can know objective truth, I do so in the humble position that my own understanding of it may not be exhaustive.

    I hope this helps answer your questions.

    In Christ alone,

    Todd

    Posted by likeasplinterinyourmind | September 13, 2007, 9:12 am
  2. Also, I want to point out that I am not trying to hi-jack your posting. The article you linked is very interesting. I would have sent you an email, but I can’t find an email address for you in your profile.

    Jim

    Posted by Jim Pierce | September 12, 2007, 7:21 pm
  3. Hi Todd, I can’t help but notice that you are using terminology commonly associated with the Emergin Church Movement. I know you started this blog site as part of your emerging journey. I am curious, are you part of an openly emergent church? Do you subscribe to beliefs common to “post-modern, emergent, Christians” such as the denial of objective reality, the illusion of knowledge, and the subjectivity of “truth”?

    Thank you for your response in advance.

    Jim

    Posted by Jim Pierce | September 12, 2007, 6:36 pm

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