On Liturgy

One of shifts in the local church during the modern/mega church movement was a move away from the use of liturgy in weekly worship gatherings. I grew up in this movement and honestly didn’t even know what liturgy was until I was in college. Liturgy was deemed to be more of an “insider” type of church activity and was replaced slowly with worship choruses and then big band worship teams that could be an understandable form of worship for those who call church home and visitors.

I’ve been to a few Lutheran churches before that used some liturgy during their gatherings (my grandparents belong to a Lutheran church) and all I remember is being fairly bored the entire time (I’m sure some of this had to do with me being young and always being expected to go to church).

This weekend I’m leading our Palm Sunday gatherings and made a decision to use some liturgical type readings within the worship time. It isn’t something I would describe as normal or abnormal for my church, though it is abnormal for me.

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on liturgy as you’ve experienced it at your churches.

Have you experienced liturgy to be a good and worshipful thing? Or lifeless and boring?

How have you seen it done it most effectively?

  • http://robrash.us Rob Rash

    The closest thing I ever got to when it came to liturgy on Sunday mornings growing up was some dude leading us in hymns and of course the communion meditation!

    I’ve seen it done really well though in different settings. In the Acts 29 Midwest quarterly I go to, they always seem to do it very well. Not too much but just enough and it is always fitting.

    Right now I’m at a ‘seeker sensitive’ church and although I’d love to implement a few spoken prayers or reading and response, its going to be a battle convincing some that this is a part of our worship.

    So basically, done well it can be a great thing… done poorly and its just another church thing.

    Thanks Tyler.

  • http://www.consumingworship.org Jeff M. Miller

    Hey Tyler. I’ll pretty much pulled out of the blogging scene, so I’m not trying to toot my own horn here. I thought I’d share my thinking from a post I put up quite some time ago. Hopefully it will be something you can build upon.


    Thanks for your blog, I still enjoy reading it.

  • http://www.fredmckinnon.com fred

    I think it can be incredibly inspiring and worshipful … especially if.its not the norm. Would love a recap of what u do on your Sunday Setlists post.

  • http://theycallmepastorbryan.com theycallmepastorbryan

    I’ve found that for our little community, having some connection to liturgy and also to the lectionary has been quite meaningful. We usually talk about it as a way in which we are able to connect with Christians across cultures and across time.

    But we don’t usually leave liturgy as just what we can find in the Book of Common Prayer, but we’ve been more inspired by the whole Fresh Expressions creative engagement of liturgy thing as well.

  • Colin Kuskie

    Liturgy is like sriracha sauce. It’s good in small amounts to accentuate the service. If you use too much of it, then you just become numb to it.

  • http://www.davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    I think any form can become lifeless and boring if you’re not intentionally encountering God through it. I’ve found liturgical elements to be quite inspiring as we don’t do them quite as often.

  • http://www.journeyofworship.com Chris Gambill

    The use of liturgical elements can be a positive or negative thing. On the one hand, it can connect us with the enduring truth and faith of those who have gone before us or be a comforting expression of the consistency of God. It can also become a crutch and lifeless routine. I’ve used liturgical elements in various ways, and they have always been well received and are a way to involve the congregation as a whole in worship. The original use of liturgy was meant to bring life and remembrance of Jesus consistently before the Church. The challenge, as has been expressed, is for it not to become routine and what is “always” done at a certain point and in a certain way. Which I guess is true of any worship element. I hope that these elements serve the congregation well in expressing worship on Sunday.