I quite enjoy visiting church services in the Diocese of Christchurch which I have not been to before. It gives me an opportunity to experience for myself what is happening 'on the ground' in terms of content, structure, length, and leadership of services. It also keeps my eyes open to the diversity of services on offer across the Diocese.
One thing I am conscious of is that my presence in a service will be interpreted as some kind of inspection, perhaps as a 'liturgical policeman' (warrants for arrest issued afterwards if a word is out of place) or a 'worship examiner' (marks out of 10 given for the performance). No!! I go to experience, to understand why the service is done in the way it is (as best I can), and to be continually challenged in my role as a trainer and educator.
Yesterday I was at three services in three different parishes, only one of which involved me in a role (preacher and presider, as it happened). All three were different. Each was well put together and each had an integrity to it, honed out of different parish histories. Each reflected different worshipping traditions within the Anglican church. In the course of the day I experienced three different kinds of church music, each, to my mind, representing different generational tastes.
Funny thing, the age profiles of each service corresponded to the music genre present in the service.
In sum: if you want to grow a youth service, get a bass guitar.
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