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Send the Light but Keep the Worship Center Dark

A long-time friend posted an article concerning the church going dark – that is, low lights in the congregation, and spotlights on the stage. Another attempt at what I call performance-based worship, which may in itself be an oxymoron. We used to sing “Standing on the Promises” while sitting on the premises, I guess we can now sing “Send the Light” while standing in the dark, and we do now stand for a long time. Talk about blended worship – how about an 18th century, traditional hymn sung in a modern, dark worship center? And what about the fellowship of worshippers? I’ve never been a big fan of organized, forced fellowship, especially when we invite the guests to remain seated while we stand over them and shake their hand, all the while asking them to complete the Visitors Card before the offering plate gets to them. How can I “Shake another hand, shake the hand next to you” when I can’t see who is next to me? I could go on with the modern methods of worship. It really bothers me when I stand to preach and the pulpit is gone, the choir has disappeared from behind me, the lights are low, the people are unseen, and the spotlights are sun lamps from Walmart. One church even insisted that my thirty-minute sermons were just too short and requested that I preach fifty-minute sermons. I have no problem with the current emphasis on text-driven preaching. I think I have probably done that for all of my ministry, but I really prefer prayer-driven preaching – from paper notes, lest I touch the wrong thing on my I-Pad and delete the remainder of the sermon. On the positive side, I’m no longer preaching in a suit and tie and the audience can better see my power-point slides when they sit in the dark. And don’t worry, I’ll put the scripture on the big screen, so don’t bother straining your eyesight while trying to read it out of your Bibles, in the dark worship center. And the younger crowd no longer has to pass notes in church, since they can now send text messages. But back to my original point – light and darkness. Do I have a text for my point? Well the Bible speaks of “light” over 260 times, depending on the translation you are using (a subject for another day). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life” (John 8:12). The COVID-19 pandemic makes all of this temporarily irrelevant, nevertheless, I have now placed a target on my back, and it is time for those who prefer modern worship methods over traditional to comment.

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