Church culture today thrives on preference. Just a quick scan across websites and Facebook pages show how different churches have a really specific ministry. Scores of books have been written to help church leaders shape and refine vision. We are taught to shape everything, including our worship, with careful intention.
All of these are good. We need to have a clear idea and expression of the ministry God has called our congregations to.
But we are also guilty of throwing babies out with bathwater.
The Primary Spiritual Experience When each person initially begins a relationship with Jesus they hit a mile stone. A foundation is formed in their mind of the particulars of the experience. Later on, new milestones might be reached and new mile markers are added.
I like to call these Primary Spiritual Experiences.
The things which happen during these times should be remembered and written down. However, many times we hold onto them a little to tight. We begin chasing after memories. In my 15 years leading worship I can’t even begin to count the times people have requested certain songs to be lead. The conversation ends with “I just don’t feel like I can connect with God unless I can get back into THAT space.”
When this happens, we are letting our primary spiritual experiences count a little to much. We develop preferences of worship and fight for them in an attempt to remake things happen. It is a spiritual “back to the future” and it affects others.
The beauty of an individual journey with Christ in the midst of a worshipping congregation is how we relate our experience and form them together with others to create spiritual realities in our midst. It’s a way we bring the Kingdom of God into our daily lives.
Either traditional or contemporary, this is still an issue. We think our way is the right way. Everyone else needs to conform to our idea of what affected us best in the past.
Like so many things, we far to often strive to make the past a present reality instead of looking towards to the future and finding out what new might bring to our present.
How might our attempts to remake something keep others from having a Primary Spiritual Experience? Are we holding back the folks we worship with?
Worship is about the future.
Robert Jenson said worship should be “violently eschatological” and he doesn’t talk about crazy end times stuff. As Christians, the basis of our faith is a projection of the future realized in the present. We should never be satisfied with what was. We need to slowly learn to be focused on what could be.
Instead of finishing the statement “I want my worship to be...” and strive to recreate something I want to challenge you to end it with an idea of a new thing happening when Jesus is fully let in. In prayer for the Holy Spirit to take you (and all of those around you) to new places.
What Primary Spiritual Experiences do you hold on to a little to tight?