The first Wednesday night of every month, I’m part of the worship committee at our church. As our young adult group is getting more traction as an actual working part of our church, it feels like the committee is increasingly soliciting more input from us in these meetings since, as it turns out, our group will someday be the ones keeping the lights on and the doors open. I’m surprised (and excited!) to find that the elders in our church are so interested in our needs as a group.
I really enjoy and feel closest to God in a formal, high church worship setting with the acolytes, robes, paraments, candles, banners, chamber choir, rituals, and creeds—and I completely get that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Half our group loves the early service for its casual, upbeat nature and wouldn’t want it any other way. I think the greatest asset of our church is that we have both options to meet more needs. Since I’m the young adult representative for the late service, I discussed this article I found last summer in regards to our late service at church. Keeping in mind that I’m not really involved in the planning for the casual early service, my favorite excerpts from this article about young adults moving toward liturgical high church worship services in droves:
Ten or fifteen years ago, it was American evangelical congregations that seemed cutting edge. They had the bands, the coolest youth pastor, professional babysitting for every women’s Bible study, and a church library full of Christian novels. But now, to kids who grew up in that context, it seems a bit dated or disconnected—the same kind of feeling that a 90′s movie gives them. Not that it’s not a church; it’s just feels to them the way that 50′s worship felt to their parents. So they leave. If they don’t walk away from Christianity completely, they head to catholicism or something similar.
In a way, it’s hard to understand. Why would you trade your jeans, fair-trade coffee, a Bible and some Getty songs for formal “church clothes,” fasting, a Bible and a priest? It makes no sense to want to kneel on a stone floor instead of sit in a comfy chair. And if you’re hearing about Jesus anyway, why does it really matter?
Photo via Pinterest
Andrea Palpant Dilley explains her own shift from Presbyterianism to apostacy to generic evangelicalism to high church: “In my 20s, liturgy seemed rote, but now in my 30s, it reminds me that I’m part of an institution much larger and older than myself. As the poet Czeslaw Milosz said, ‘The sacred exists and is stronger than all our rebellions.’ Both my doubt and my faith, and even my ongoing frustrations with the church itself, are part of a tradition that started before I was born and will continue after I die. I rest in the assurance that I have something to lean against, something to resist and, more importantly, something that resists me.”
Open-air church service for troops in Europe. Ludgate Hill, London, 1915. Photo via Pinterest
In short, I just feel like our 2 services need to be distinctly different and separate in styles, rather than both meeting in the lukewarm middle ground of somewhat formal, somewhat casual. I don’t think that connects in an authentic way for our particular church. I would love to know—how do you like to worship? Why do you like it that way? I’m curious!