I started reading a book called Emerging Worship today, it’s by Dan Kimball. In the first chapter he makes this statement, “Emphasizing ‘worship gatherings’ is vital for the emerging church.” This follows a section where he describes that the term “worship service” as translated from the Greek is really to mean a time when the Body of Christ gathers together to offer their service to God in worship. This has been reversed in time Kimball explains, and so changing the name is necessary, is his conclusion here.
I find myself scratching my head. I am not debating that words have meaning and connotation. Here is why I bring this to your attention. (I hope that worshipers and those that are privileged to lead worship are both reading this.) Changing the name, seems to me, is the easy way out. The western church, in my opinion, seems to like to take the easy way out. Church splits, creating new denominations, is all the easy way out, when working out core issues is the best, and perhaps more painful way of working out church strife. In this case the not easy way out would be defining the terms more concretely for the church. This will take time, it will take practice, and it will take work, but it seems more worth it to me. Eventually “worship gathering” will change and someone else will want to create a new title.
Maybe I just don’t understand the real reason why. I haven’t read the entire book yet, so my mind may yet be changed. I am well aware that culture and time change the way worship appears on the surface. Perhaps this is just part of that change. I feel I must end by saying that I highly respect Dan Kimball, and everything that he has done in the ways of the ‘Emerging Church’ movement. I am just . . .confused, and a little concerned with this particular title change.