Don Sweeting has recently left our church to become President of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. On his way out, he has given some valuable reflections on how God shaped worship at our church during his tenure. You can read his whole post, but here are some highlights:
In my current pastorate we have multiple services and mulitiple styles. Our mission calls us to more than one direction stylistically…For our main services, currently we have what we call a classical service and a convergent service…
How does this work? I’ll warn you that there are many pitfalls to doing this well. Early on some said that two different services would divide the church. But the truth is that even when you have two services that are stylistically the same, they still come out somewhat differently and can “divide” the church.
Here’s how it works. A pastor directed philosophy of worship as well as the common ministry of Word and sacrament hold these services together. There is an overriding vision with overriding values rooted in the Word and the gospel that drives everything. A desire to be both rooted and relevant give us the ability to connect with people yet stay grounded. Our music leaders are also cross trained team players. They truly appreciate each other and help each other. There is no elitism, but a servant heartedness that keeps them on the same page.
Is this always easy? No. Is it hard to find such people? Yes. But can it be done and used by God in a powerful way? Absolutely. In fact, such teamwork is a demonstration of the gospel itself. Because we all know how easy it is for stylistic preference to divide the church. But think of it. If our music and worship leaders with all their diverse gifting can get along and serve each other, to the end of fulfilling Christ’s mission for the church, then it powerfully commends the reconciling power of Jesus who calls us not to just look out for our own interests, but also the interests of others. When that happens, the gospel goes forward with new credibility and power.
If you’re interested in how we at Cherry Creek unpack the what’s and why’s of having two services, check out my article: “Two Services: Why?“