A few thoughts from a facebook response of mine I wanted to elaborate a little more on: Can you imagine a Unitarian Universalist community without worship as the main act? Remember i am a uu christian asking this too :) But does worship drive the budget of time talent resources and money? What is the plus but also minus of that? What is set in motion because of it? Can worship be decentralized to drive the church to decentralize and move out of itself? How does worship reinforce that "our mission is to create a warm welcoming community for people like us who need us" and vice versa?
We have weekly worship; we will try to develop it up if possible as our community develops up as a missional monastery; I would love to offer worship every morning, noon, evening, and night; making it available to any who wish to participate regardless of whether they support us and our mission in other ways; in this way seeing worship in our abandoned places as an act of mission. We might even offer it in different ways depending on resources available.
But it will always be the last thing to get the focus of time, talent, and especially treasure; it will come as a response to mission for and with others in our area, as a response to learning and growing our souls and personal gifts and passions, as a response to the act of eating together and sharing our lives with ourselves and all others who come to the table with us; anytime we need to sacrifice worship in order to re-focus and re-energize for mission, discipleship, and community first, we will do it; worship without sacrifice, as Gandhi says, is a social sin.
In doing so, can we decentralize and take it out into the community in ways not envisioned or practiced now? worshipping at different times and different places is a good start; it makes it more as we say a party than a program; it keeps it from being a product. Can we make it a response that grows from the ground up by community leaders, instead of being a spectator sport led by paid professionals? How do we keep worship from pulling us into attractional church and away from incarnational church?
These are advent thoughts as I begin a new church year.