52 SUNDAYS: What if I don't like the liturgy?

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This year we're challenging our members and regular attenders to attend a church service every week in 2014. You can read more about the 52 SUNDAYS challenge here. This article is part of a series of articles about 52 SUNDAYS.

What if I don't like the liturgy?

Is there room for personal preferences when it comes to how we worship together on Sundays? The answer is yes. Of course there is.

The order of our services (i.e. liturgy) is only a tool. Strategy is involved. We shape it and plan it according to a number of principles. For example:

  1. The gospel. It's our ministry...a re-presentation of the same old story. Every time.
  2. The Bible. Although it never prescribes a form, it does describe crucial elements.
  3. The people. Our practices must be accessible to the congregation.

Our pattern communicates something.

Every church must think carefully and regularly about what they do when they gather for worship. Our general plan is explained here and I'm not under any delusion that our plan is the one and only, right and correct, authorized plan. It works for us. It's faithful to the principles above. We are committed to following it and we are also committed to changing it when necessary.

There is no ONE SIZE FITS ALL.

When it comes to sermon styles, musical styles, the languages spoken, the length of the service, how the Sacraments are incorporated, and the countless other parts of a service, you must decide. What church are you called to worship with?

Use the Scriptures. Ask questions. Consider others in your decision, because this isn't only about you. Find a local church and make a contribution. Add your voice to their voices and let God be praised and the church edified. If Jesus enjoys it...even if it turns out you can't find the perfect church...you can still participate with joy.

There is no perfect liturgy.

Actually, that's not true. There is a perfect liturgy and it's going on in heaven right now (and forevermore). For now you have preferences...and your preferences are YOUR preferences. Treat them like that and you'll do fine.

Don't allow your preferences to go unchecked and unquestioned. Don't demand everyone else to like what you like. And don't make your preferences an excuse for not gathering with the church. If nothing else, go and be delighted by the sight of God's people delighting in God. Let them use their liturgy to tell you the story of how God saved them. This we should all "like."

Resources:

  1. Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice, by Bryan Chapell
  2. Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship, by David Peterson
  3. Worship by the Book, edited by D.A. Carson
  4. Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God, by Bob Kauflin