Saturday, December 7, 2013

Why do we do it our way?

Christianity Today has an article about New Life Church in Colorado Springs since the Ted Haggard scandal. It is encouraging. I found these passages about one of the branch churches particularly attractive:
.... This past Easter Sunday, my family and I attended New Life Downtown. Meeting in a high school near Colorado Springs' urban core, the fledgling church branch had been looking toward Easter for months, specifically since the beginning of Advent. Pastor Glenn Packiam, 35, teaches the congregation to follow the liturgical calendar, used for centuries by major Christian traditions. During Lent, we had been anticipating the Resurrection through fasting, repentance, and sacrificial giving. Easter was preceded by a Good Friday service at the main campus. There, Packiam and associate pastor Daniel Grothe led a service of mournful prayer before dismissing us in hushed darkness. ....

New Life Downtown's service remains couched in familiar evangelical expressions—there's a set of praise and worship songs, a half-hour sermon, and an overall tone of de rigueur Colorado casual. But it draws on aspects of traditional liturgy, straining to do so in a way that's both serious and inviting. Many Sundays, we recite the Nicene Creed and say the prayers of the people. Every Sunday we hear Scripture read (Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel) and do corporate confession. We share the Eucharist, receive a blessing, and sing the doxology. ....

"I'm slowly turning the ship toward a more contemplative, thoughtful time," says Boyd. "I inherited a big ol' building with gigantic lights and screens. I've got all the cool stuff. But that's not what we're about."

New Life's convictions have also been examined anew. Its elders recently voted to adopt the Nicene Creed as the church's statement of faith. ....

Gary...is a former fundamentalist who started reading broadly after Haggard resigned. A business traveler whose faith foundered amid the scandal, Gary used long commutes to study Christian history, wondering why the faith at New Life bore little resemblance to the faith he was reading about. As he studied, he brain-dumped and peppered with questions any New Life staff member who would listen: "How does the way we worship determine the way we believe?" "Why don't our songs mention Father, Son, Holy Spirit?" "Would Paul assent to our statement of faith?" Gary pointed pastors to more traditional ways of thinking, praying, reading the Scriptures, and caring for strangers, and asked: "Why do we do it our way instead of this way?" .... [more]
New Life After the Fall of Ted Haggard | Christianity Today