Our church's mission statement is "Connecting People To Jesus Christ through Worship, Discipleship, and Service."
This year, we decided to conduct church-wide surveys with our Sunday worship service congregation for each of these (3) areas of ministry. We started with Discipleship, then we had a survey for Service, and finally, on September 14, we conducted a survey on Worship.
The Worship Survey had the following questions:
Worship has to do with the style of music.
Worship happens only on Sundays.
Worship is the #1 priority of a follower of Christ.
Worship includes tithing.
Worship is demonstrated by the way I spend my time and resources.
(all of the above offered answer choices including strongly agree, somewhat agree, agree, not sure, disagree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree)
then, on the back of the survey, in addition to the age range and gender box to check, you could write your name (optional) and then there were two really interesting questions with space to write in your answer:
HOW DOES GENUINE WORSHIP TRANSFORM YOU?
IS THERE ANY MESSAGE YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMUNICATE TO YOUR CHURCH'S TRUSTEES OR MINISTERS?
I am now in possession of 468 pages of answers to the above two questions. That's right - 468 pages. (I feel like Congress!)
I have perused these pages over the past 24 hours. I am quite frankly stunned....actually, kind of numb even.
I told a friend today that God is working overtime with me right now because I don't know what to do with what I am reading.
Please understand - I don't for even a brief moment believe that the efforts of the ministry that God has called me to lead, and the magnificent people with whom I serve on a weekly basis are incapable of messing up or even being misunderstood, but
I have never for a moment questioned our motive - NEVER.
And now - after reading many, many of these comments, I guess I just didn't have any idea that there were:
1. people seated in the congregation each Sunday who felt as strongly as they do about things I/we should and should not do as we attempt to lead people to worship and honor God each Sunday and beyond the walls of Sunday services
2. so many who when given the opportunity to "voice their opinion" were so blunt in "voicing it" - while at the same time remaining for the most part - anonymous in their comments.
Me blogging about this is not some lame attempt on my part to solicit pathetic responses of "I am so sorry for you" or "I can't believe this" or "don't let that get to you", etc.....
I am blogging about this because I am deeply disturbed by what I am reading.
And don't begin to tell me I am overreacting.
We are talking about the worship of God Almighty here. The Creator of everything there is. Don't you dare minimize His greatness by telling me in a survey what YOU think we should or should not be doing so that you can feel better about yourself and YOUR church.
Worship is not about us - never has been - never will be. Worship is not about whether we sing your favorite hymn or your favorite chorus. Worship is not about the temperature in the Worship Center on Sunday mornings. Worship is not about whether you got a "rush" out of Sunday or not. Worship is not about how many times the choir sings or the orchestra plays.
I am grateful for many in our congregation whose response to how genuine worship transforms them gave answers and evidence of their true understanding of why we gather each week in that room.
We gather to boldly, respectfully, and reverently proclaim that God is greater than me and therefore worth everything I can offer to Him. That means that I come regardless of the songs, regardless of the leader, regardless of the "presentation" to find a way to make sure God knows that I love Him and choose to serve Him above any other god in my life. I come to confess that I mess up everyday in my attempt to live my life for Him, but that does not change what I bring to Him - even in my brokenness, I come before Him to make more of Him than me, my circumstances, and my feelings.
Maybe this survey is a wake-up call for me. Maybe this survey is of the devil.
May God help me sort this out as I stay the course in leading people to encounter the greatness of God.