United in Worship

Report of the 2012 MLLC Worship Committee

Summary

The Worship Committee has been tasked by the Martin Luther Lutheran Church Council to work in unison with the Capital Improvement Committee in discerning a worshipful, Christ-centered approach to the proposed renovation project. Before we begin any major changes to the physical campus, it makes sense to consider what are to be our guiding principles for taking action. To that end, the Worship Committee has joined in Bible study and prayer, seeking God’s guidance and wisdom, in endeavoring to answer several questions relevant to the proposed renovation project, and we have discussed the proposed changes from our perspectives as stewards and leaders of congregational worship.

Bible Study, Worship & Prayer

  • What is worship?
  • Why do we worship?
  • If “a church is the people, not the building” what’s the big deal about a building?
  • Historical background: Antediluvian, Patriarchal, Early Hebrew/Egyptian, Kingdom of Israel & Temple Periods (1st, 2nd & 3rd), early Christian/Roman, Medieval & Reformation-era, & modern, multi-cultural trends.
  • What does it mean to be Lutheran and/or LCMC and worship (if anything)?
  • What is central to our worship, and what is peripheral, what is primary and what is secondary? What is necessary to have / do in the worship space (and time), and what is intended to support it?
  • idolatry as an issue (we tend to lose sight of the 1st Commandment when we put too much emphasis on things) – we must be willing to let go of anything but Christ
  • Aaron & Laurie can select appropriate worship music for us, the Cap. Imp. Com. and the congregation to sing at the outset of these meetings.

Questions pertaining to the proposed renovation

  1. Why should we make changes to the sanctuary?
    1. when there are safety concerns,
    2. when regular (or preventative) maintenance is advisable
    3. when the changes will enhance the worship of our congregation.
  2. What changes are being proposed to the sanctuary
    1. safety concerns
      1. support beams are to be placed in the roof
      2. abestos abatement of the flooring
    2. regular/preventative maintenance
      1. insulation and sheet rock on the ceiling
    3. changes which are proposed to enhance worship
      1. renovating the chancel wall into an integrated aesthetic
      2. re-forming the chancel staging area to one level
      3. installing audio equipment strategically across the chancel/stage area
      4. replacing sanctuary lamps and lighting
      5. replacing flooring
      6. reconfiguring the pews
      7. insulation and sheet rock of some of the walls (?)
  3. re: pews: we can get metrics (how many people fit in a pew of such-and-such a length, what our maximum attendance has been at Christmas & Easter, what new members, young families, and handicapped persons think) we can also investigate whether cushioning would aid the absorption of certain frequencies vis-a-vis sound issues)
  4. does the change get in the way of worship at 9? at 11? what does it enhance?
  5. ROI for 9 vs. 11 service (per capita offerings, attendance measurements, new visitors/members) -> this should play a role in determining how we prioritize ministry needs.

Discussion

(Findings of worship committee based on bible study, prayerful reflection, discussion)

  • “art is never achieved by committee” – argues for a wholistic/integrated solution, not a piecemeal approach
  • selfless submission to God’s will and Christ’s headship entreats those who disagree not to be disagreeable (at minimum), and requires Christians of goodwill to take action based on pure motives.
  • concerns of the congregation are important as we are to love and care for one another as parts of the body of Christ. We should listen to and address concerns and questions thoughtfully, and always with reference to our guiding principles.
  • some members of the congregation have more knowledge and experience in matters of construction, craftsmanship, liturgy, church history, philosophy, and even aesthetics than others. Let those so gifted submit their talents, skills, and knowledge to God’s will, and let the us trust those appointed to do so to act in the best interests of the congregation.

Conclusions:

  • The 9 a.m. service would benefit from the proposed changes, chiefly because the current acoustic setting would be improved. Donna Field was surprised to hear Aaron’s input (he said he’s “salivating” for the project), and if he presented his thoughts/conclusions to more people this would go a long ways toward promoting consensus.
  • The 11 a.m. would benefit from the white walls (reducing the necessity of putting up/pulling down screens), and the staging, but the acoustic changes would be a wash (we add artificial reverb to our sound currently).
  • The question of pew spacing is best answered by addressing those we want to welcome in our church: new members, specifically families. Would they benefit from more space? Yes. Also, the loss of seating could easily be made up through multiple services or a new sanctuary should we ever achieve such a high attendance that all the space is necessary.
  • A Bible study on the meaning and place of worship, plus some context on places of worship would benefit the entire congregation. Questions for such a study are included below. The study could take on any form, and be offered to the worship committee, the capital improvement committee, the men’s group, the women’s group, and any other interested party.