Friday, August 5, 2016

Trying a Simpler Approach to Worship Variety

Several weeks ago, our spin class teacher had a very simple approach to our class.  We would climb for six minutes, go fast for 20 seconds, and then recover for three minutes.  Then we'd do it again, cycle after cycle, until class was over.

Some teachers have more complicated routines.  For example, we might climb switchback style, adding gears and pedaling for 30 seconds, taking off gears and pedaling, adding one here, taking off two there.  I like those routines because they keep calling me back to the moment, reminding me to be present.

But when we did our streamlined routine several weeks ago, I was reminded of the benefit of a simple approach.  When it was time to climb, I added as much gear as I could stand and pumped away.  When it was time to speed, I took much of the gear off and went as fast as I could.  We didn't worry about the music--although I like a routine matched to the beat of the music, the beat of any particular song seemed less important that day.

As I think about that approach and the satisfying workout that I had that day, I wonder if we could adopt a similar approach to other areas of life.  I think about it especially in terms of church.

We often create worship services that try to be all things to all people.  We have a band and we have traditional hymns.  We do liturgy in a variety of ways--and all in one service.

Or we create several services, each vastly different from another, as we try to please everyone--and then we spend lots of time wondering how to increase attendance at each one.

My church has gone with the variety of services approach, but we don't spend as much time as we once did thinking about attendance numbers.  I worry a bit about burn out; as with many small churches, the brunt of the work falls on the shoulders of the few.

But so far, our approach has been working--it's good to rest in this space, without trying to reinvent our worship approach every year.

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