We have been in the Memphis area, Collierville actually, since last September. This is the longest I've ever gone in my life not affiliated with a particular church. I have visited 11 churches so far. Only five have been of the Churches of Christ which is my heritage and where I've been all my life. It has been interesting seeing how others handle their worship. We've been to traditional and contemporary. Conservative and liberal. What I don't like about the contemporary ones is that they are basically concerts and you sit or stand passively. Some of the time no one or just a few people in the pews will sing along. When there is congregational singing, often the instrumentation drowns out the singing. Another thing I noticed is how the services are more complicated. There may be a march into the auditorium by participants all dressed up, maybe carrying a banner. There is reading and response by the crowd. There is more popping up and down than I'm used to. After all these years reading about mainline Protestant liberal churches, it was a surprise to see how much they talk about their love for God and Jesus and what God has done for them and how Jesus is important.
I've been wondering about what kind of church I might invent if I could. Here are some off the cuff thoughts. It would be on Friday or Saturday night so as not to interfere with Sunday churches.
The Mysteries of the Universe Church
1. Welcome to everyone and a few announcements. Background music is played but not loudly. Instrumental contemporary but not obtrusive. Something that builds up and leads one to think that something good will be coming along. 5 minutes.
2. A short message and video that relates to Art and Beauty. 10 to 15 minutes
3. A short message and/or video that will be known as the Science Moment. 5 to 10 minutes.
A break to visit. 5 to 10 minutes
4. A message from our Christian and Spiritual Heritage and History. This may be the closest thing to a sermon. A Biblical passage may be highlighted or a story from subsequent Christian History. 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Practical News and Service. What has everyone learned this week that we can use. Some new health tip, recipe, investment advice, shopping recommendation, whatever. Discussion about how to help others and status of various projects. 5-10 minutes
6. Food . Not sure if to do a meal or snack.Need to add music in between segments. External and participatory.