My friend Marti left a very thought-provoking comment on my previous post about Creative Chaos or Quiet Reverence that really sparked some memories. I started to share these with her in the comment section, but decided they deserve a post of their own.
First, let me share with you what Marti wrote:
My church meets in an old warehouse, or anyway, the anchor to a defunct shopping center. It was ugly. The old-timers kind of liked that, as it harkened back to the day when they moved from one school to another... they didn't want things too nice. Nobody EVER got married there. After we paid off the mortgage, fixed the leakin' roof, etc, God provided a major donor who gave a $1 million anonymous gift with no strings attached. The mission committee got a tithe of it, which was cool, and a lot of other good stuff happened too. Sadly, giving dropped; this was about five years ago and we've yet to recover. However, somewhere in there the elders decided to use part of 'the big taco' (as the $1 million was affectionately called) to build a new sanctuary inside out building. It feels like a living room. It has niches for prayer. It has pretty, ivory-colored walls. I was glad we didn't spend all our money on this, but it helps to have a comfortable, attractive environment. It makes a difference. So does our new worship leader, and particularly, his adorable wife with the great voice who leads our singing most Sunday mornings. We sound great with her leading us. And she can do new stuff, old stuff, in-between stuff just as well. I'm glad God gives us so many ways to worship.
As I read her comment, especially when she began describing her church's current set up, I was reminded of the last six or so months of our old church plant here in Nashville (before it was decided the plant would merge with an already established Mosaic in town). We
revamped it after a jolting shift in our leadership, and part of the revamp was to completely change our approach to our "service" time. Instead of coming at it from a typical worship service mind-set, formatting it with music and then teaching, we instead approached it as if it were a giant Life Group (small group, or cell group; some now call them Community Groups). This one change in focus changed the whole dynamic and
feel of our times together, and opened the door for God to dwell among and within us at an ever deepening level. (please note this post continues after the jump -- see below)