This evening, my wife and I sat in a Chinese restaurant eating dinner and discussing our church. We attended the contemporary worship service last weekend, the first time in a few months to be completely honest. We stopped attending the service a while back.

A few months prior to today, we were driving home for lunch after leaving the worship service that ends just before noon. The both of us were quiet and unenthusiastic. One of asked the other, “How do you feel about the service now-a-days?” Thus began the journey into realization – that after two years of being a part of this worship service, (my wife singing in the praise band, myself running the sound board,) it was no longer filling us up but leaving us empty. The songs were getting slower, the enthusiasm lower. It just wasn’t there any longer. We decided to try out some other local church services.

Here eating dinner out at our favorite Chinese place, we discussed the current condition of the service. It’s pretty sickly, down around half from its peak attendance. What used to be an upbeat and growing service filled with 20’s to 40’s and their children, was now a slow, shrinking collection of 30’s to 60’s. You can see that many of the praise band members have left. We just learned today that the recent reaction to this decline was – changing to a traditional order of worship. …. !?!?!?!
[insert record scratch here]

Hold on folks! Huh!? Now, let’s review that again. A contemporary service that was previously upbeat, enthusiastic, and strong, lost its impact for whatever reason – and a traditional order of worship is the shot in the arm it needs? We’re desperate here! We want to worship but you’re boring us! This is not a rant, but a plea. My wife and I are disappointed and unfulfilled, and we’re quite obviously not the only ones. I can’t say this builds a great deal of hope in my heart, from a church that has persisted over 100 years and is struggling to reach a postmodern group.

Why are they failing?

I’ll make some suggestions in Part II, but if you’re following me here and have any comments, I’m very interested and listening.

Brian Slezak