Tag: tradition

Why not Wednesday? Going retro

Let’s face it, tradition for a long time got a bad rap. Often hailed as the opposition to change, tradition has an aspect of humanity we cannot run from. It grounds us. Allusions to the past, or retro, shows up everywhere and for quite a while. Going retro demonstrates some cool things.

There is no school like old school. Often the old school has the art and delight for something we now take for granted.

Mimicking is the highest form of flattery. The quest to allude to things past celebrates the work and efforts of those in generations past.

Things of old contain value. Retro understands this but adds to it a flare of modernity. In a real sense, it is our contribution. Appreciation is the parent, depth is the new birth.

Tradition grounds us in a way that helps us navigate life and understand the world. It gives us perspective and stability in an (overly) fast paced world.

Ministry context
In a church context, the retro movement can be seen as a rediscovery of what church is. There is a sense that many churches have lost who they are in running from tradition. There is movement to have a more classic approach to church, but not stodgy. In large measure it comes from a realization that church is unique and it has a rich history. Tradition wasn’t the enemy, and each generation must add its nuance.

The bottom line:
Culture wide there is a reach for all things past. In one sense, perhaps this is a realization that we’re a unique culture. (America is still very young.) But, in another sense I think people are seeking stability. Connecting with the past gives a sense of calmness. After all, we’ve been here before.

Why not Wednesday? The Prayer Meeting

The mid-week prayer meeting started early in the life of the church. While Sunday was often a day of worship with focus on God’s Word, the church reserved the mid-week meeting for prayer. For many, in time, the prayer meeting became a tradition and soon lacked its vitality.

Tradition is not a vice. Apathy is. Often the issue with tradition is not the tradition, it’s forgetting what it is about. The prayer meeting started as a way to act on the priority of prayer. The tradition becomes a vice when its reason for existence is “because we’ve always done that, that’s why.”

Apathy is the tarnish of tradition. So, how do we polish tradition so it can shine? There are three critical needs for the prayer meeting:

  • We need to realize that prayer demonstrates our dependence and focus on God.
  • We need to understand that prayer is a way we show direct access to God.
  • We need to see that corporate prayer is as vital and important as private prayer.

Corporate prayer will look different for each church, but it is an essential part to being a church. A church’s success is best measured by two things: It’s sending capacity and its prayer capacity. The first demonstrates its ability to make disciples. The second demonstrates is total dependence upon God.

The bottom line:
Corporate prayer is an essential aspect to church. The Prayer Meeting, like many things in life, needs constant attention. It is easy to let important traditions become tarnished by apathy. Keep the prayer meeting a polished and bright. Pray together because we need God and enjoy His presence.