At one level worship services are "products". People choose which product they prefer in the sense that, while Christians are obliged to gather for corporate worship regularly, none are obliged to attend St Ethelbert's in the Marsh rather than the New Wine New Wineskin church meeting in the warehouse. Now people make choices about which church to attend/participate in for all sorts of reasons. But they are more likely to choose a church where the worship service has relentlessly perfected itself from unnecessary faults. Over the months I have mentioned some of these. One simple one to notice, though often difficult to quickly sort out, is a faulty sound system (or faultily driven sound system). Here I simply emphasise again: attention to detail is important if we wish to draw people to our services and to see them return. Inattention to detail will not necessarily drive regular worshippers away, but it may mean we wonder why we see little or no growth in congregational numbers.
One of the great attenders to detail in modern life is Steve Jobs. He, in case you have not heard of him, is the driving force behind the Apple Computer company. So important that when he once left the company he was brought back to rescue it! The products of his company are wildly popular (iMac, iBook, iPhone, iPod, etc). Indeed many Christians freely admit their near idolatry concerning these products!! When we are using an iBook, say, to power up the powerpoints for our service, it could be worth asking whether we are as attentive to the detail of what we are doing as Steve Jobs has been to the making of that iBook.
Yet, that is not all that makes for a great service. It is just a necessary condition. Also required is a gifted leader of worship. I shall try to remember to post on that next week.
New Camaldoli Hermitage
11 hours ago