It must be about 10 or 11 years ago now that I went with a bunch of Christians to investigate the Nine O’Clock Service in Sheffield, just before it emerged that one of the leaders was involved in inappropriate relations with some of the women in the group. This was round about the same time that Willow Creek was getting a foothold in the Christian consciousness in the UK. As one who at that time attended a small struggling traditional URC in my village, but with a reasonably large youth group, I was open to new ideas. Willow Creek seemed just the ticket. The event in Sheffield was another avenue to follow.
The Nine O’Clock Service was quite an experience – loud dance music, strong visuals, dancing girls (yes, even there), mats not pews or seats, large control/mixing desk, computers etc. It was a heady mix and had quite an effect on me. Even as I write I can still feel the effects.
Today I came across this site, what seems like a very similar concept and it stirred up memories for me. Now, I can both understand the attractiveness of this site and the event it is promoting, yet, in spite of its being so cool and ‘alt’, I also see its true foolishness.
There is much about Christianity that seems foolish and pathetic – preaching though no-one will listen, doing the real graft of biblical study, looking after widows and orphans, the ‘smallness’ of biblical Christianity, the ease with which we are discouraged when things don’t look too great. This seems so contrary to modern expressions of worship and ‘church’.
But when you realise that Jesus himself looked like nothing – he was not the all conquering one that the Jews expected – then we can take comfort. We seek to be devoted to the apostles teaching, prayer and the breaking of bread, and for this we are led to looking small, feeble, foolish. Yet we follow in the steps of the Master, our hope placed in Him and in His return.
It is noticeable that at Grace website its, cool, innovative, ‘alt’ … and Jesus or Christ is not mentioned. Maybe He would give the wrong impression.