Convergence Worship is Evangelical, Charismatic, and Sacramental/Liturgical. It means that from the very start of a worship service to the words of dismissal all three elements should be evident. There is not a charismatic moment, a sacramental moment, or an evangelical moment. Yet we can discuss each of these three elements of worship individually.
When we talk about being evangelical in worship it is not the same as saying we are an Evangelical Church. Being evangelical in worship is corporate worship that still calls individuals to a personal encounter and relationship with the present Christ. It is preaching sermons that are grounded and rooted in Holy Scripture read within the community faith. Yet believing God is still speaking to each person calling for an individual response. Evangelical worship is participatory and not passive. Convergence worship is where I can bring my personal relationship with Christ Jesus and join in the corporate worship of the Church as handed down throughout the ages in the historic liturgies, and that finds its source in the eternal worship of the one voice before the King on the throne.
Christianity is about relationships. First and foremost it is the relationship that God has with us. We have a God who love us, who seeks us, and draws us, by grace, into an relationship with Christ Jesus that redeems us, restores us, and forms in us the perfect image of His Son. That relationship is lived out in the life of the Church. We come together, and through the Word and Sacrament, we become the visible reality of Christ’s Kingdom. We are participating in the life of the One, Jesus, in whom we live, move, and have our being. We also are directed by our Lord to go into the world and make disciples of the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Trinity, and teaching them to obey everything the Lord commanded us. Worship is always missionary and evangelistic. (Matthew 28.19-20)
Evangelism is not an option for the Church. Every congregation should have a plan or a program to reach its community with the Good News. Does your church have a plan? It is both preaching, because faith comes by what is heard, and doing ministries that make visible the love of God. It is always faith that is on the side of justice for every person, because every person bears the image of God And, as every congregation should have a plan, so should every individual. Do you have a plan for reaching your community for Christ? What can I do to bring the message of God’s love to my own family, my neighbors, my fellow workers in the market place, or to the poor?
So we are a sent people. The Bishops of the CEC in North America have heard the Lord Holy Spirit tell us to focus on evangelism. Not that we ignore being Charismatic and Sacramental/Liturgical, but that we take a period of time and assess ourselves in light of the Great Commission of the Church. Our Bishops are meeting on line once a month to reflect on every aspect of evangelism, and they will be working with our clergy to assess the work in every diocese and every congregation.
We do it without condemnation. Certainly we do it without discouragement. We do it because the Holy Spirit told us to do it. I believe that together, as we pray and listen to the Lord Holy Spirit through each other and the Holy Scriptures, we will be given wisdom about how to proceed.
In the months to come I will use this forum to write about some thoughts that the Lord Jesus is giving the Bishops and myself. You are all in my prayers.
Under His mercy,