Pastor Letter 9/2016

Welcome Back!

In Proverbs it is written that “at the end of life you will groan…” (5:11). This is sometimes true, but it is certainly true when we realize that our summer is coming to an end and our school, sports, music, and church schedules are just ramping up! Yep…the days of summer are behind us and for many of us “the grind” is before us and because of that…many will certainly GROAN! BUT…

Before you ‘groan’ too much about putting the summer behind you, there are two points in this communication I want to bring to your attention that will give you reason to groan no more! The first is an encouragement to ‘plug in’ and the second is informative as to some changes in worship style beginning on September 18th.

Encouragement

As we enter our busy schedule, I encourage you to look for the e-news (CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE) and check out two things:

1. Ministry opportunities for you to participate in: grow through a book club, learn in a study, fellowship through Dinner for Eight, give through service opportunities, etc.

2. A ministry you might volunteer to be a part of: Sunday School Teacher, Middle School Guide, Coffee Bar Host, Sound Board Operator, Assistant Minister in Worship, etc.

There are many, many ways to participate in the life of the church both by volunteering, sharing your gifts and time as well as growing in your faith through a study or small group. I encourage all of us to do both.

Worship

“Sing to the LORD all the earth…” (1 Chronicles 16:23)…. ok, but how? This has been a conversation at Hope and indeed the global church for years if not decades. What does it mean to worship? What does it look like? Which way is right? What songs are appropriate? What style ‘should’ worship look like?

Well…the answer is found in diversity.

It is safe to say that at Hope, it is in our DNA that we are a welcoming and diverse congregation that strives to meet people where they are and provide a meaningful worship experience to all who come on Sunday. Therefore, as we move into this coming program/ministry year, some adjustments are being made to our worship services to help us achieve this mission to meet people where there are…whatever their worship preference happens to be. In short there will be:

Three Services, Three Styles, Three Ways to Worship

Before the styles are listed, it is important to make clear that some core pieces actually stay the same. We will have communion at all services every week. Each service will have the same grace based sermon rooted in our Lutheran theological DNA. Each service will be warm and welcoming with a ‘come as you are’ Spirit filled atmosphere. Here are the descriptions:

8:00am Traditional: Remains exactly the same. Traditional. This service is true to our Lutheran Worship Tradition and to those who desire to experience worship in a more formal setting (hymns, robes, organ, liturgy, Holy Communion).

9:30am Blended: This service will be liturgically familiar with a blend of traditional music and contemporary hymns in a sacramental, liturgical context. The music will be led by our Praise Choir with a Praise Band providing accompaniment.

11:00am: Truly contemporary service led by our Praise Band. This service is for those who connect with God in a more informal, non-liturgical way. The focal points will be the gathering around the Communion table, the sermon and the singing of praise and worship songs in a contemporary style.

I would make the point that we are not a people united in liturgy, music style, volume preference or the like. We are united in Christ. “…whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, we were made to drink of one Spirit”. Said another way, whether hymns or rock songs, loud or contemplative, liturgical or non-liturgical…we are united not by our cultural preferences of worship, but rather by Jesus.

I’m sure we have a lot of learning to do moving forward. I’m sure there will be tweaks here and there. We will not be perfect right out of the gate (or ever for that matter). But we will attempt to meet people where they are.

Please pray for Hope, for the worship leaders, participants and planners both volunteer and staff that they have the insight, energy, and creativity to create worship that is engaging and meaningful both for the current family of Hope and just as importantly for those whom the Spirit leads through our doors.

Thank you for your response to God’s call to ministry through Hope and beyond!

God Bless

Pastor Rob Zahn

PS…look for upcoming information regarding the second site possibilities in South Lyon