I have written before about the concerns I have when every service, or the majority of services, follow the model of being a “seeker service” – with a primary focus on seeking to convert people, and even have them drawn into the life of the Christian community. The primary focus and goal of worship, IMO, should be ….. worship.
There is nothing wrong with having the occasional “seeker service” – but many services appear to follow the model of treating everyone as visitors. Nothing is assumed. No responses are thought of as being “by heart”. There is constant commentary and instructions. And every last word is on a sheet, book, or screen. A visitor to the community will not feel out of place, but also will not feel that anyone here has ever worshipped here previously.
Contrast this with a community where certain traditions and responses are assumed. Yes, a visitor will not be able to respond at every point, and will not necessarily understand all that is occurring and why. But, if they are comfortable with this, someone sits alongside them, helping them find their way. Or maybe they have been brought to the service by someone else. The visitor realises this is a community that knows each other, that appreciates being together, and that clearly has been meeting regularly – “maybe I am attracted to join such a community”…
Worship for the sake of worship – not primarily as a tool for evangelism – can mean people go out from such worship to live their Christian life in their everyday lives, attracting others through their words and actions. And then within the Christian community there are processes of incorporation to help newcomers become part of this community.
If that is now to be called “Missional Church” and contrasted with “Program Church” maybe that’s just a new way of allowing this other way of being church to be heard.
A good reflection on the Day of Pentecost when we all reflect on the way we live out our life, mission, and ministry in every-day life.