Friday, July 13, 2012

Gottesdienst for a New Generation?



By Larry Beane

I was just invited to our district office for a special presentation "to be part of a process that can help instill new excitement and confidence in reaching to the community to make disciples." The presenter is an LCMS pastor who will be presenting a "hinge event" to teach us how to "start a new life cycle" for our congregations "opening the door to [our] community, releasing the creative genius of God’s people, discovering the 8 hinge factors for revitalization."

Sounds intriguing.

The presenter holds a D.Min. from Fuller and is the executive director of an RSO.  He is also on staff at an LCMS congregation, as "Revitalization Pastor" and pastor of "Small Groups and Discipleship" of his congregation. His congregation runs a spin-off church (more accurately, a "partner church") as part of their vision. The spin-off church offers this rubrical explanation of their Sunday Gottesdienst (called the Sunday Gathering).:



HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT: 


Nothing too fancy - our Sunday Gathering isn't a production, but we want to tell you what you'll step into: 


Usually we drink coffee/tea and eat donuts and talk for a while, then around 10 AM we stand and sing a few songs, try to concentrate more on God, pray, take an offering, dismiss 3-year olds through third graders to KidsChurch... listen and interact with a teaching for about 40 minutes, maybe sing another song, then back to consuming what's left of the donuts/coffee/tea while finishing up paused conversations and starting new ones.


On the fourth Sunday of the month we celebrate Holy Communion. When there are five Sundays in the month we don't do Gathering here at all - we're out in the city doing various projects in what we call Restore Weekend.


Sunday Gathering is only one-third of what we do: the other two-thirds are spent in the community serving various non-profits in their (and our) quest to be good news, and hanging around with new and old friends processing God and Life.


love God.  love neighbor. serve city. 


Welcome to the tribe.

8 comments:

  1. I hardly got thru the first paragraph when I realized I had won buzzword bingo!

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  2. Intriguing article, Reverendus.

    On a completely unrelated note, I was reading this in the Preface to the Book of Concord today, "We notice, however, that, just as in the times of the Apostles, into those churches in which they themselves had planted the Gospel of Christ corruptions were introduced by false brethren, so, on account of our sins and the looseness of these times, this has been allowed by an angry God against our churches also."

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  3. Well, traditional Word and Sacrament ministry might work in your context, but other contexts need to try something a little different. After all, same Jesus, right?

    Or is it?

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  4. When I am told I am about to "step into" something, I usually take that as a warning about potentially ruining my shoes.

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  5. When my wife was once asked why our Worship Service doesn't look just like this her response was, "That's what Bible study is for..." This sort of "gathering" is almost exactly what we do each Sunday in my congregation for Adult Bible Study and Children's Sunday School (minus celebrating the Sacrament)... Then we go to the Divine Service.

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  6. Are the coffee and donuts consecrated?

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  7. "Usually we drink coffee/tea and eat donuts and talk for a while, then around 10 AM we stand and sing a few songs, try to concentrate more on God, pray, take an offering, dismiss 3-year olds through third graders to KidsChurch... listen and interact with a teaching for about 40 minutes, maybe sing another song, then back to consuming what's left of the donuts/coffee/tea while finishing up paused conversations and starting new ones."

    From this, I think I have a secure grasp as to what happens inside "KidsChurch" ... but do modern, sensitive and caring Lutherans of the 21st century really endorse their three year olds comsuming tea and coffee?

    "HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:

    Nothing too fancy - our Sunday Gathering isn't a production, but we want to tell you what you'll step into..."


    Being more taciturn (and practical) in nature, the hardworking and pious Lutheran farmers of yesteryear would have provided galoshes.

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor

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  8. "Are the coffee and donuts consecrated?"

    Come, come, Mr. Green; you rascal, sir.

    The breaking of bread (Acts 2:42; Lk 24:30) ... the breaking of coffee ... so what's the difference, among us tribal partners and gatherers?


    "love God. love neighbor. serve city."

    and copy e.e. cummings.

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor

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