To attack laryngitis in your congregation head on, talk with your congregation’s lay and clergy leaders about how to start conversations about faith when you gather for worship. For help with this intentional practice, try the “10 ways to practice faith-sharing.”
• How can sermons become the first word rather than the last?
• How can you shape fellowship time so it becomes a training ground for the faithful to grow, rather than simply a social time to see old friends?
Over the next six months, we’d like to hear your answers and stories. Send them to elizabeth.hunter
@ thelutheran.org. The results will find their way into a future issue of The Lutheran.
Our dilemma isn’t new. Martin Luther was clear
that the purpose of gathering as Christians is a life-changing
encounter with Christ so people leave worship different from when they
came. While many of us attend worship weekly, daily attendance wasn’t
uncommon in Luther’s time. Yet he also understood that merely attending
worship guaranteed nothing:
“People can go to church daily and come away the same as they went. For they think they need only listen at the time, without any thought of learning or remembering anything. Many a man listens to sermons for three or four years and does not retain enough to give a single answer concerning his faith—as I experience daily. Enough has been written in books, yes; but it has not been driven home to the hearts” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 53: Liturgy and Hymns, edited by J.J. Pelikan, H.C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann; Fortress, 1965; pages 67-68).
Luther believed the church’s impact in changing lives was minimal. Instead, his goal was developing a life-changing, truly evangelical form of the Christian life.
The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers