Out in front of my house, one of First UMC’s parsonages, I see a freshly paved street. The road crew for Cedar Falls is near completing new curbs and pavement for the street between my house and the church. On one hand it is a completely new street. They tore out the old curbs, they put in new gravel, the poured new asphalt. It is brand new, not even striped yet. But on the other hand it is still a street and still has the same purpose of any street.
The same is true with worship and our new Transformation Worship Service. Transformation, the contemporary worship experience at First United Methodist Church, is in a new location. And even that location is going to begin going through some exciting changes. The first of these is that in the next several weeks construction will begin on a new stage and storage facilities for Scott Hall (our worship venue) which will provide the Transformation experience with a new permanent central stage for the Praise Band and for preaching and leading worship.
In preparation for making room for construction we’ll be moving our current portable stage to another part of the room changing the shape of our worship space yet again. We are also working in different ways to update our worship experience, work on the logistics of a new service location, and seeking to figure out how we can make our worship one that helps us to focus on our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
But, what we are doing is still worshipping God. We will still be singing, we will still be praying, we will stil be reading the scriptures, and we will still be sharing in the sacraments. So while Contemporary worship has stylistic elements that are different from our two traditional worship opportunities we still have the same purpose we have always of seeing that, as the song says, we see Jesus lifted high!
So that effects how we change and how we don’t change. When we make changes in the coming months it will be for the purpose of lifting up the faith of Jesus Christ, helping us worship God, helping us grow in our faith as Christians, and helping us to leave worship to go out into the world to serve others in the name of Christ! Changes won’t be willy nilly or just change for the sake of change. But worship change has to match the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!