Lutherans have quite a reputation when it comes to change.
Usually it’s typified in jokes like this:
Q: How many Lutheran’s does it take to change a light bulb?
A: CHANGE??!!??
Or if you’re more of a deconstructionist:
A: We have a light bulb?!?

I think we can be done joking about Lutheran’s inability to change.

Last Saturday I was part of a Lutheran Praise Festival hosted at Good Shepherd in Buena Park, CA. It was comprised of area Lutheran congregations that were growing in new ways of doing worship – the emphasis on this day being primarily (but not entirely) on new music and music leadership. Many of these congregations had praise bands of one sort or the other or were trying to start them.

There are camps within the Lutheran church that look down on band led worship. As if playing a song with only three chords is a threat to our churches rich musical past. There are other camps that see the preservation of pipe organs and Bach Cantatas as a threat to our church’s future. I’ve spent time in both camps. I don’t want dumbed down songs, but nor do I want to see a million bucks spent on a pipe organ. I’m hopeful that we’re moving past these camps. A few weeks ago a worship leading friend of mine was told by a pastor, “I’m not sure if the congregation wants to sing so many of these ‘God is good’ songs.” To which my friend replied slightly befuddled, “But God is good.” Zing.

The congregations that I met on Saturday were not being tripped up on the adiaphora of worship music. They were moving outside of camps and following God’s call in their setting to lead worship in new ways. From listening to their stories here are a few things I learned: They were old and young, they used drums and hand bells, they did songs from the 1880’s, 1990’s, and Today. They lifted hands. They held hymnals. They took out pews. They put in projectors. Everyone survived. (At times members moved to other congregations to survive, but no one left The Body.) They faced challenges. They laughed a lot. They were generous and adventurous and 100% openly embracing change.

We’re a church body firmly rooted in change. We’re reformers. We can both love our roots and embrace a new future. We can do that because our faith is not in what we have done, but rather in what God is doing.

Living accordingly, I’m happy to say that Lutherans will continue to have quite a reputation when it comes to change.

Posted: March 9th, 2012
Categories: Uncategorized
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Comments: 1 Comment.

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