My sons are older now and headed out into the world. Rhonda and I are entering a new part of our lives. In the coming months, we will transition from being parents with boys at home to parents with boys who are working and serving beyond our little abode. While we certainly love our boys very much, we are ready for this next chapter . . . a new paradigm, if you will.
As I type this, I’m listening to Chris Tomlin’s new album — Burning Lights. The song playing is “Crown Him (Majesty).” It’s a combination of the traditional hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns” and a chorus he wrote “Majesty.” Song writers are realizing that hymns, with their excellent poetry and imagery, carry a lot of weight with participants in worship. Incorporating them into their playlist can help make a deep connection with the Holy. Incorporating hymns into contemporary song . . . a new paradigm, if you will.
When I began church ministry, the emphasis was building events so that people could invite their friends to come and see what they accomplished. While we still focus on certain events and points to reach out, I believe that things have changed quite a bit. Gone are the days when events ruled. People have enough “events” in their lives right now — particularly if you have younger children. From baseball to football, families are busy. Heck, even if you don’t have children, jobs are no longer 9 – 5 and often it involves travel. Again, people are just busy.
Time is the commodity. So, if time is the commodity, everything that a church does must be meaningful and connectional to their spiritual life. The church’s message has to matter to them. We no longer create events for event’s sake. Rather, we have to strive from the moment of hope and wholeness in which God enters into their soul. We don’t manufacture it; but, we have to set the stage for it to occur. Events don’t create that — whole and meaningful worship does . . . true connectional worship.
We must move away from event planning to worship planning, instead working, planning and seeking excellence in music, spoken prayers, preaching, silence, relational moments and visuals . . . a new paradigm, if you will.