I've been to a practice for the singing group I belong to tonight and we were discussing worship and styles and why the churches were emptying and we ended up only singing two songs.
I have a few views on the reason we are not moving forward or growing and I some of them go along the lines that a comment on Methodistpreachers blog said but there is more.
There are people who say I don't go to that particular service because I don't like what they do - but they have never been so how can they say they don't like it? There are folk who believe the only hymn book we should use is Hymns and Psalms but it could be argued that this book was out of date when it was printed and is certainly out of date now! There are those who think the only good hymns are those written by the likes of Watts or Wesley but there is much that has been written in recent years that is so good and yes there should be a place for the best of both! A really dangerous thing I think is the church that says 'We've always done it this way' I think these are the 6 last words of a dying church! It seems to me that the churches who are experiencing growth are those who embrace change and the best of the old and the new.
In our circuit we are just trying a series of circuit services with a more modern, non traditional style and at the singing group tonight everyone was saying how much they had enjoyed the last one and all except one of them is over 50 and many are over 60 but they enjoyed the lively worship including the marching round the church when we sang 'We are marching in the light of God'
I am reading a book at the moment called Cooking up Worship by David E Flavell and I am tempted to say it should be compulsory reading for all Methodists and possibly all Christians. (whoops was that ever so slightly controversial - well never mind)