…makes a world of difference.
Lovely Boyfriend treated me to a night out on Saturday. We had dinner at a great Indian restaurant, watched a fantastic production of Don Giovanni (Scottish Opera) and stayed in a hotel overnight to save a late drive home. Of course, this meant we couldn’t get to our own churches on Sunday morning so we picked one close to our hotel.
It’s a huge church in a city centre and yet there were, at most, 30 people including the minister, organist and choir of 4. As the service proceeded, we could understand why nobody wanted to attend. Old-fashioned doesn’t begin to describe it! Their choice of a “modern” hymn was one set to Victorian music and written circa 1930. The minister and choir wore heavy robes and everything was so serious!
I was going to say that I’m sure that type of service appeals to many, but the evidence was there before us in the empty pews and unenthusiastic singing.
Lovely Boyfriend and I then went to an evening service at a church we both enjoy and try to frequent when he’s home. A free meal is provided every week beforehand. The praise band fill the stage with a drumkit, bass guitar, other guitars, electric piano, keyboard and singers. Hymns are lively, clapping or dancing are encouraged and that applies to hymns old as well as new. The minister doesn’t wear robes but jeans. He doesn’t drone on about ancient customs but, instead, gives practical tips on how to be a good Christian today.
Both these churches are Church of Scotland. Both ministers will attend the same Presbyterian events. But their approaches are so vastly different and it’s clear which one is working. More people were at the evening service than the morning one; about 50. Given that the evening service is always much smaller than any other, that’s good going when you consider the fact it’s in a town and not a city centre.
My point is this: if something isn’t working in your life, take a different approach. It may be something that used to be really important, really helpful…but if it isn’t working anymore, change it until it starts working again.