Visiting Alma

Foundational Questions

What should Sunday morning worship look like?

Normally when I write in this space I am sharing an opinion or idea. This time I am writing with a different purpose. I have some questions. I could just write out my opinions, and elaborate on what I think the Bible has to say in these matters, but I really want to hear from you first. I am very curious to know how some of you might answer these questions.

Back in March when things started to shut down, as a church we had to make the difficult decision of closing our doors. It was the right thing to do. It did however begin a thought process that I am still trying to work through. When we closed the doors, outside of all the concerns for peoples health, safety, employment security etc, the first questions that came to my mind was “what does church look like”? How do we do church online? What should a Sunday morning worship service look like?

Not long after that, as we got ourselves up and running with our online worship service, a very big concern surfaced around the subject of community. What does it mean that we are a ‘community’?  The question that I was asking is ‘what is christian fellowship?’ to put it another way, how should ‘christian fellowship’ differ from the fellowship that the rest of the world enjoys? Or should it be different at all? Some very early on were longing for that social contact, while others weren’t. So what is true christian fellowship?

As we moved things online, another concern that surfaced was what to do about music. Early on, we knew we couldn’t do music online without first dealing with technical issues and legal issues.   Now as we are moving back to in person worship, we are told that we can’t sing when we gather. Now what do we do? What should a worship service look like?  Can we worship without music?  Can we worship without taking communion?  Can we worship without including a sermon?  What are the essential ingredients of a worship service?   Can we call it a worship service if all we have is a sermon?  Can we call it a worship service if all we do is pray?

So, using the Bible as your defense, how would you answer these questions:

  1. What should a Sunday morning worship service look like?   What are the essential ingredients of a worship service?
  2. How should ‘Christian fellowship’ differ from the ‘fellowship’ the rest of the world enjoys? Should it be different at all?

I am really hoping that you will take the time to write and let me know what you think.   I would like to be able to respond to each submission, but depending on how many I get, that may not be possible.  I don’t have any plans for your answers except the goal of actually answering the questions.   Once I get your answers, I would love to be able to put things together and write something in this same space on the website sharing some of the answers and maybe even drawing some conclusions but we will have to see.

I hope you will enjoy the process of thinking through these issues.  Thank you in advance for taking the time, and please know that I am looking forward to hearing your responses.

Mark McCready
Senior Pastor