Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quality and quantity

Getting our worship services right is a huge challenge. There is the challenge of this coming Sunday, who will preachk, preside, pray, read, distribute and so forth. Oh, and the crack organist is away so what are we going to do for an alternative? CDs again? There is also the challenge of the longer term, say, the next 52 Sundays - the next year ahead. We could lurch from week to week filling in gaps on the roster, or perhaps we are blessed with many helping hands leaving us with the question whether across a whole year we are growing and developing the quality of what we are doing? Then there is a much greater question in terms of time: what about ten years from now, what will be happening in our church?

In some ways the last question is the one which most interests me, and perhaps I have the luxury of thinking about it because I am not a vicar and thus not worried about next Sunday's worship! But that ten years from now question should be thought about sometimes, I suggest, by vicars and priests-in-charge. After all there may be some things now which could begin to change in order to be ready for ten years ahead.

If some changes are not happening now, then ten years from now you can be sure there will be some big changes! Some congregations will not exist. Some will be confronted with a new vicar or priest-in-charge pushing for tumultuous change. Some will be staring a rather large maintenance bill in the face, or may be gulping at the size of the funds which need to be raised to bring their church interior into a new age.

Evolution or revolution? If we are not evolving our worship now, are we bequeathing revolution to those who come after us?

I started off thinking about 'quality and quantity' and have ended up thinking about 'evolution and revolution.' I think the relationship is that we can overlook the importance of quantity in seeking quality (in some cases the quality of our worship keeps numbers static), so a future revolution may be needed in order to resurrect a congregation. Yet, conversely, we can be enamoured by quantity and overlook the importance of working on quality. Without quality even the largest congregations can decline. So evolution is about holding concern for quality and quantity hand in hand.

But then I could be wrong!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Common Worship article

Just appearing in print in Anglican Taonga is this.

Evolution or Revolution

I was struck yesterday by experiences which raised for me the question whether change in worship style is best achieved by evolution (i.e. gradual, incremental change) or by revolution (i.e. instant, dramatic, global change)?

I guess the answer is probably that in some contexts evolution works well, and in other contexts revolution works well.

In the background to my mentioning this question is that in some places there is an associated question: does the situation provide the time for evolution to take place or must revolution occur before the church doors are shut?