I was 17 years old when I was hired as Middle School Director of a local Presbyt...
In ten years what will ECO be known for? According to our “Who We Are” statements, we’ll be known for:
- building flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ
- baptizing more than we bury
- a missional pattern of church life
- and our new church planting passion
In addition to these things, I’m hoping we’ll also be known for our lovely and lively worship. If we’re not, then we’ll not be known for any of these other things either.
Though our intent to worship well is missing in our “Who We Are” statements, it does have top billing in our Essential Tenets. They recast Westminster’s “chief end” as,
“The great purpose toward which each human life is drawn is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”
While such glory is given to God beyond the worship gathering, it cannot long be given apart from it. Nor can it be given well apart from worship done well.
All pastors know the press of a week with too many people needs and administrative duties. And thus all pastors have learned how to plan worship on the fly, using the ever-ready help of commercial resources, and reusing what we did on this Sunday last year. And usually it’s okay – just not what it could be.
Then, on top of the ordinary press of church life, we’re building a new denomination! That comes with some heavy lifting. How will we ever find the time to do worship well?
You know where this is going. The only way we will ever be known for our lovely and lively worship is if we devote the resources necessary to give it steady expression in our weekly congregational life. That means blocking out time at the top of the week to plan worship well.
It also means devoting some study time to the theological and practical aspects of worship – not exactly a strong suit in most seminary curricula. To that end I recommend a journal, a conference, and an author: Reformed Worship, The Calvin Symposium on Worship, and James K. A. Smith’s emerging trilogy on the Kingdom and worship. You know of others, so let’s help each other out here. Go ahead and leave your recommendations in the comments below.
Wouldn’t it be great if a decade from now the name ECO brought to mind not only all those wonderful “Who We Are” intentions, but also lovely and lively worship? And what if our reputation with the One we glorify were the same?!
That is a worthy chief end!