Thursday, March 22, 2007

Where's the creativity in church???

I’m not much onto church bashing these days, but one thing that does really piss me off is the apparent lack of creativity we see in many churches today. The fact is, you walk into 90% of church services around Australia and they will all look remarkably similar. Sure the songs might be a different tempo, the preacher might dress and act differently, but its all still same man different haircut.

I've been chatting to a couple of people lately from relatively large churches, and they've both said the same thing. Our youth group, young adults services and church services are all the same as each other, we rock up, listen to a message, sing some songs, and go home.

What the hell! If we are made in the image of a Creative, Creator God why do so few of our church gatherings reflect this? I'm not into singing that much myself, I actually sometimes find it helpful, and have no problem as such with it as a form of worship, but my problem is when thats all that we do for worship! Show a bit of creativity people!

There's a bazillion reasons why young people and young adults leave church and faith, so lets not make another reason by routinely chopping out the same old worship gatherings.

Rant over.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps a christian Oktoberfest could come under 'Creative Worship' I am willing to give it a try. who's with me ????

Jono said...

I consider myself quite a creative person, you could probably agree, Digger, and I'd have heaps of ideas as to how to make worship mroe creative etc. But the vibe of the church is that it's not worship if it's not singing, listening then going home. Normally, the attitude is "sure, we'll do a different, creative service, but then we need to get back to the real thing."
This annoys be beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, but at the same time would people feel intimidated by creative worship? Like I think the thing is that churches (in the form of organisations) have to try and serve many different people, this is where the problem lies. If a church tries something that has never been done before they are too scared people may not/will not like it and will leave the church. They try to instead find the medium where they can provide a "worship service" which will serve a huge cross section of the community. This is why church should be looked at in my opinion from a more small group perspective, so everyone gets a say, and you can try new things easier...Im with ya tho digs!


Unordered said...

Hello, long time no read. I'm having a blog night, so popped over. Ages ago, well about a year ago, maybe it was two, I blogged about attending an Orthodox easter service. The Thursday night service is the most amazing church service I have ever been to. It's like being in a movie, a very good epic movie without any Hollywood crassness, the whole story of Jesus coming over you in waves. And it's the same every single year. Yeah it's very creative and symbolic, insense, starting in light, ending in darkness, repeated chants, and always the same, for a thousand years or more. Each service, on any particular day, is the same as it was the on the same day of the week the year before. These services have so much depth, that every time I hear one I learn something more.
I guess it's tried and tested creativity.
i guess not having to find the ideal church service means creative efforts can be focused elsewhere, like mission, community, serving the poor etc. I love it.
I became Orthodox so I've a few more years to experience the cycle of creative sensory worship.

Esky said...

Agreed, with a passion!
I think christians and churches should find a focus and constantly question why they do what they do.

Definately something I struggled with the church I grew up in. Church suddenly became an expectation- even if it meant sitting in the same seat, singing the same songs, and hearing the same messege 20 thousand ways- it was what made you a "good christian".

Worship to me is a lifestyle, not something you can choose when you do and don't do it. However I find that because I love music, singing and, writing songs, through it I make a more passionate connection with God in comparison to say, generosity, prayer, or loving the kids next door (which happens anyway). I think churches in particular should offer a chance for every type of worship to be expressed in its services- now THAT would be creative!

just a thought or two...

Mim said...

unfortuately trying to do things diff and creative seems to scare some people off- and services without music are considered too dry and boring!
Being creative takes too much effort and brain power. But have actually found that its the 'older' guys that are more accepting and flexible- so much for that stereotype!

Question I have to face is wether its worth doing something diff if majority don't turn up? Is church all about getting the biggest no of ppl to come and forgetting the minorities interests..... or even authentically worshiping God?

Jono said...

MIM- I disagree much much much much much. Church is definately not about attracting the most amount of people. A church that is focussed on attracting the most amount of people is, to me, a very lost church. That's why I respect things like the huddle so much. It doesn't worry about numbers, but about doinf what it can the best way it can for the members it's already got. What is better, having a church that suits a few people, and helps them through or to their faith, or a church that has a lot of people attending it, where nobody gets much out of it?

Mim said...

You disagreeing with me or a question I put out there- cos their 2 diff things! :)

Thats the ideal, but when you have your faith community disolving around you because you've dared to be different it doesn't feel so great and its hard work!

Church is about community and sometimes that means it's not always done the way you want. I can go home and worship God with my art work or interpretive dance, but in church I worship God by spending time with others in christian community.

Getting really idealistic I think the whole debate on how should be do church is missing the point! We should concentrate more on being a community with hearts for God, each other and your neighbors and what church looks like should flow from that, not the other way around. How that works in practice with people at diff 'stages' of faith I don't know!

Digger said...

Tell me more about this so-called Christian Oktoberfest Harry?

Digger said...

Haha, yeah I could imagine Jono, you are one of the more creative people I know!

Yeah you make a good point Mitch about wanting to create a space for all people from all walks of life. But see the way I look at that is that perhaps then we shouldn't jsut trya nd squeeze everybody into the one service.

Why not have different churches and congregations for different people?

And yeah, I'm totally with ya on the smaller group churches-hence why I do the Huddle!

Why would people feel intimidated by creative worship? Has that been your experience? I guess the key is to be creative in a non-threatening way?

Digger said...

Yeah unordered I do remember reading about foray into the Orthodox world, as I had also just been to visit one.

You're right, they're fantastic, apart from being in another language! There's just so much going on, very multi-sensory and all that.

Dunno how I'd go doing that all the time though-even if it was in English!

But to be honest, that whole cycle of it always being the same for hundreds of years and that doesn't appeal to me, and is unnecessarily traditionalistic-but thats just my opinion!

I like your point about not exerting too much effort into creative worship tofree up time for mission-I'm totally with you there.

But if our church gatheriungs are just mundane and boring then that doesn't sustain us at all for mission and helping others. Know what I mean>

Digger said...

So true Esk-totally love that worship as lifestyle stuff-thats what its all about.

Yeah me too, would totally love to see how every type of worship can be expressed. I don;t really know if its possible in the one gathering, but it'd be interesting to see!

Digger said...

Yeah Mim it is a tough one, cos as much as I'm about pushing and stretching people's boundaries, you do need to be sensitive to the needs of your community.

Jono said...

Sorry if my tone sounded harsh, Mim. I re-read your comment and noted that you were just posing a question. But I feel very strongly about churches trying not to be an attractional church, but rather, be a missional-incarnational church. Don't know what I'm on about? Ask Digger, he taught me most of that stuff. Basically, an attractional church is about getting lots of people in, while a missional-incarnational church is about going out to people, not cucking them in, and worrying about numbers.

Mim said...

Nah your fine Mr CP- just letting you know I'm good at talking crap that I don't really believe! like to think through and debate all options- but really do just end up crapping on.

Trust me, I totally agree! and have chosen to try and stick to a church were I have freedom to be creative and I see is moving to a more missional model- it's just getting a bit lonely and the moment!

Digs- do you think its better then to start up a new church (huddle style) than changing an existing church? If peoples needs for a sing/sermon/leave style church or a church with more people then they can find that in many places else where and even support them in that, while providing a diff style of church for those who do enjoy? or is that not being sensitive?