As I walk into my office each day, a quote greets me. I printed it out many years ago, and keep it on a music stand in my daily view. It is not a Scripture quote, nor is it a poster platitude meant to keep me encouraged. Rather it is a command; a call to action.
The quote is from author Seth Godin, from his book, Tribes. It simply says this:
“Paint a picture of the future. Go there; people will follow.”
In our life’s work helping people to enter into God’s Story through worship, this quote reminds us that we can proactively work with the Holy Spirit in shaping the worship life of the Church both within – and beyond – our lifetime.
A Forward Looking Church
Most churches, and in fact, possibly most leaders, are not seeing beyond their next 5-10 years of vision – let alone beyond their own lifetime. This keeps us all living in a very small story, and obscures our vision of what is important in worship now that will impact the Church centuries in the future.
The Church, I believe, has a mandate and responsibility to be the most forward-thinking, trend-setting womb of innovation that exists on the planet – while always staying rooted in the most ancient of narratives and practices. In other words, we must always be looking forward, while reaching backward, as we live with passionate devotion to Christ in the present.
In practical terms, many of us need to hear again that 1970 was almost 50 years ago. That’s an entire half century. And times, as Dylan sang, are always changing.
We need to ask: “God, what are you doing now in worship – what must remain in our worship practices and styles, and what renewed forms of worship would you like to further reform at this time in history?”
The following is my attempt to ask that question, and to come up with some answers.