Guest post written by Josh Smith, Director of Worship and Production.
The Table: Ancient + Modern
Sundays at 11am in Wilson Chapel
“Simply put, ‘ancient’ is the what of our worship and ‘modern’ is the how.”
This Sunday, around 250 people gathered in Wilson Chapel to participate in a new worship expression at Christ Church – The Table. Several weeks ago, Pastor Shane had shared with the congregation that the pastoral staff felt led to launch this new opportunity by three primary factors:
- Anticipation of congregational growth. You may have noticed that our 9:45 and 11:00 services are either approaching or have arrived at capacity crowds in the past year. In order to be faithful in our commitment to making new disciples, we must provide more space for visitors and potential members.
- Development of a teaching team. We place a great value on having a healthy plurality of teaching voices united under the authority of a single lead pastor. A new service would provide 52 more opportunities a year to celebrate and develop the many gifted preachers on our staff.
- Multiple unique expressions of worship. Christ Church has been a leader in traditional worship and contemporary worship styles for many years, but we do not currently offer what is commonly called a “blended” worship service. There are probably as many definitions for “blended worship” as there are churches implementing it, so the remainder of this post seeks to clarify what we mean when we say “blended worship.”
First, a brief word on what we do not mean – Blended worship is not a compromise between two or more styles or groups. For better or for worse, Christ Church is big enough that we rarely find ourselves forced to compromise on these matters. Churches may resign themselves to “blended” services in order to consolidate, conserve, or counteract shrinking demographics. On the contrary, The Table is being designed, in part, as response to significant growth.
What we do mean:
*** Blended worship is about creatively translating the powerful ancient acts of worship into modern, culturally accessible expressions. Simply put, ancient is the WHAT of our worship, and modern is the HOW. ***
What makes us ancient:
- The two-fold order of Word/Table (weekly communion)
- Extensive reading of the Holy Scriptures
- Confession of sin and of Christ’s sufficiency
- Participation in song and other forms of response
- Creeds and other affirmations of faith
- Commitment to inter-generational interaction
- 11am Sunday morning meeting time
What makes us modern:
- Late 20th/early 21st century musical instrumentation
- Modern language and idioms in scripture, song, and sermon
- Extensive effort to communicate what ancient scripture says to modern lives
- Use of multimedia to assist in participation and communication
Our desire is not to compete or even compare with the other expressions of gathered worship at Christ Church, but to come alongside them to serve our congregation as we glorify God together. Our prayer is that this addition to our schedule will not only fulfill the intentions expressed above, but that God would do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could have ever asked or imagined through each of our worship gatherings.