I grew up during America’s Moral Majority years, when putting an ichthus on your business card would up your professional game. In an era when group belonging seemed a foregone conclusion, evangelism emphasized a personal relationship with Christ, and corporate worship grew to reflect (ironically) a focus on individual experience.
But our post-Christian cultural shift heightens the church’s need to reclaim its historic emphasis on us. We need the weekly reminder of corporate belief more than ever. Spending six days a week in the wilderness of cultural unbelief, the church needs that seventh-day gathering to do what it was designed for: reminding us that we are not alone.
We need a movement from me back to us, re-envisioning corporate worship as a place that purposefully points us away from individual experience toward tangible reminders of our shared faith.
Moving from me to us requires re-evaluating worship environments. The use of stage lighting leaves the congregation in darkness for much of the service, and anonymity invades our worship.
Leaving the lights undimmed for most, if not all, of that time allows us to actually see each other joining together in worship, to recognize that we approach the altar as a family versus as individuals.
Moving from me to us also impacts how we use sound systems and choose music. When the sound is too loud, individuals in the congregation feel isolated and anonymous. Lower levels let us hear one another, encouraging participation.
When music is difficult to sing, congregants fall silent. If syncopation, odd key choice, or complicated melodies present barriers to the average singer, they likely need to be traded for songs that accommodate everyone’s ...1