When we think about worship, we rarely begin with a blank canvas. We bring many expectations and assumptions to the discussion, including our church traditions and our own preferences, not to mention the old favourite “The way we’ve always done it”.
Making changes to our worship often require us to set aside some of our own needs and preferences, but this is not always easy. Many church leaders can cite examples of times when someone has said something like “I wish my family / my friends / more young people would come to church”, but when asked to make some changes to facilitate that the response is “I couldn’t do that”
Sometimes, doing things the way we have always done them means that we continue to put up the same barriers year after year, which stop a certain group of people engaging with our worship.
A while ago I heard about a church that wanted to try to accommodate the needs of a wider group of people. To help them do this, they came up with an interesting plan which they called the rule of 75%. The idea was that nobody in the church should be more than 75% happy with the things they did. If anyone was 100% happy, and their preferences were being fully catered for, it probably meant that someone else’s needs or preferences were being ignored. The rule of 75% meant that this church were continually asking themselves the question “Whose needs are we currently ignoring?”
Consider your own church for a moment. Are there traditions in your worship services that leave people out or make it difficult for some people to attend?
Robert Schnase offers us this prayer and challenge for today:
Help us Lord with the hard task of thinking not only about our own needs and tastes
so that we can consider how our worship serves the needs of others.
Challenge: What are some simple changes your congregation could make to welcome and include new worshippers?