The Center for Faith & Culture—Olivet Nazarene University

Jeffrey D. Crowder

“Rosetta Stone, My Lawn Mower Manual, & Congregational Worship”

Last Sunday our family was out of town so we visited a church.  It is a church in the same denomination as the congregation that I pastor.  It is located in the same state.  We are even part of the same district.  But, as with anything we experience for the first time, there were some things that were very different between our churches.

I noticed the size difference.  The church we visited on Sunday is probably on the verge of what we’d call a “mega church” or as a friend of mine describes it, a “Wal-Mart church:  they’re a big box”.  They offer a wide variety of opportunities and ministries and appear to do them quite well. Our church is more of a “Cheers” church:  where everybody knows your name.  We don’t offer nearly as many ministries but there is a high level of intimacy between the people who worship at our church.  We visited the big church for the first time and nobody knew it except for us.  That wouldn’t be possible in our church.

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Tags: Worship

“Praying Twice: The Role and Theology of Congregational Song in Christian Worship”


The church phone rang on a recent Sunday morning.  The woman on the other end of the line was inquiring about our corporate worship gathering.

"It starts at 11:00 AM, right?"

"That's correct" I responded, sensing a little hesitation in her question.

"And your service," she continued slowly, "is it contemporary or traditional?"  I figured since she had the time of the service right, she already knew the answer to the former question and it was simply a lead-in to the latter question, the point of her call.

"How would you describe ‘contemporary'?" I asked, attempting to diagnose what she was looking for, and seeking how I might find a little common ground in this conversation with someone I'd never met.  (I wasn't trying to be difficult.  Our worship style is more "contemporary" than some.  [We sing a number of songs that have been composed in the last fifty years, relatively new within the scheme of Christianity].  But our worship is less "contemporary" than others.  [We do recite the creeds with some frequency, we don't use an abundance of visual technology, and we do occasionally sing a Wesley hymn, "Amazing Grace", or other hymns composed before 1900].) 

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