Home Space That Invites Transformation - Issue #107

Space That Invites Transformation - Issue #107

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Saint Jakob United Methodist Church in Gothenburg, Sweden, offers worship that blends ancient and modern practices to connect multiple generations and gracefully touch the hearts of the worshipers.

This blend is illustrated in the worship space. Behind the altar is a historic tapestry depicting Jesus and the twelve disciples. On the right side of the altar are candelabras where worshipers are welcome to light prayer candles. On either side of the chancel are screens where words to songs are projected from wireless LCD projectors. Rather than flashing brightly colored pictures behind the words, there is a dark gray background with white lettering. While the pastors wear traditional robes and vestments, the choir dresses in casual clothing, including blue jeans.

A variety of musical genres is used. One recent service included a Bach anthem by the choir, a pastor-led rock and roll song including congregational hand movements, and an organ-accompanied version of the Gloria Patri. Congregational singing is accompanied by a piano, drums, and bass guitar combo.

The intent of worship at Saint Jakob is not to be "traditional" or "contemporary," but rather to use a variety of communication styles that focus the worshipers on Jesus Christ and invite people to be transformed as people of faith.

Some Questions for Discussion

  • How does your worship space and service help to connect worshipers with practices that have been meaningful to Christians across the ages as well as propel them into a faithful future?

  • How does your worship space and service signal to newcomers and visitors that people of all ages are welcome and valued?

  • How do the elements in your worship service, including visuals, music, preaching, and liturgy, connect people across generations?

Craig Miller is Director of Pastoral Leadership at the Discipleship Ministries. He may be reached at cmill[email protected].

In 2007 church leaders throughout The United Methodist Church in the U.S. were invited to identify churches that demonstrated the vision of discipleship described in the twelfth chapter of Romans. Over 200 churches were surveyed or visited. Issue #107. © 2011 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this page for use in United Methodist congregations.

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