LDS Worship: What Would You Keep?

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Nathan
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LDS Worship: What Would You Keep?

Post by Nathan » 12 Jul 2010, 13:52

I find it interesting that one of the most formative elements of the LDS experience is something that is not doctrinal, nor in large measure is it even scriptural: style and content of worship. During my career as an LDS Army Chaplain, I sometimes have a great deal of say in what the Protestant worship service will look like. During my last deployment to Iraq I was the only chaplain in a camp with about 2,000; I designed the entire format of the weekly, Christian worship service.

By comparison, LDS sacrament meetings are stale. An upside, of course, is the eventual participation of most members in the congregation. But even when charity abounds, there are always those Sundays when one would rather be in the dentist's chair than spend another minute in the pews. Overtime, changes have been made, usually in pursuit of efficiency. If you were "king for a day" what about the style and content of worship would you change?

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Heber13
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Re: LDS Worship: What Would You Keep?

Post by Heber13 » 12 Jul 2010, 14:58

Nathan, you always start such interesting threads!

I really wonder what it would take for the church leadership to seriously consider some changes. I think it is a common feeling for many (like myself) that they would be welcome. Part of my day job is to make sure I instill efficiency throughout my company...and look for ways of eliminating wasted time, resources, and money so we can be more profitable as a company. This mindset (efficiency) is a curse for me when I go to church...because there is often so much that is inefficient with a volunteer/lay clergy leadership which impacts the meetings. There are good aspects of it also...such as participation and learning how to develop leadership and followership, but my Sundays are grueling and I try to remind myself I will be blessed by learning charity and patience.

The first thing to change, I think, is to go to a 2 hr block and make it more meaningful 2 hrs. There is so much time wasted in switching classes, making announcements, doing prayers and introductions again and again...clearly we could cut out an hour of our block meetings if we were more efficient.

Besides efficiency, effectiveness could be improved if Bishoprics were more involved in the meetings and the content each week. I get the fact that each person can speak in sacrament meeting...and we should keep that...but there needs to be more hard-hitting messages delivered by the leadership of the ward that is dealing with family issues in leadership meetings. I really think they should have bishops more involved in delivering sermons, and consider that when calling bishops.
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just me
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Re: LDS Worship: What Would You Keep?

Post by just me » 12 Jul 2010, 20:28

New SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONGS!

We need some new songs like nothin' other. It's not even that we don't have some really powerful songs in the Hymnal, it is just all so old. Plus it is all sung in a depressing manner. I know that varies slightly from ward to ward. If I were in charge there would be some Christian Worship songs added to the Hymnal.


And maybe a small band. :twisted:
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Brian Johnston
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Re: LDS Worship: What Would You Keep?

Post by Brian Johnston » 13 Jul 2010, 06:26

Heber13 wrote:The first thing to change, I think, is to go to a 2 hr block and make it more meaningful 2 hrs. There is so much time wasted in switching classes, making announcements, doing prayers and introductions again and again...clearly we could cut out an hour of our block meetings if we were more efficient.
Yeah, less quantity and more COWBELL!!!!!!! The worship services have a fever sometimes, and the only cure is more cowbell.

Image

I personally would love to see a quiet time of group meditation, but that might be getting a little too Eastern religion for the comfort level of most. Or perhaps dancing and music like they did in the old days in the temple. We could clear out the furniture to the edges, bring in some drums, horns and perhaps a fiddle or two, and really get the party going.

One last request: Get rid of the US corporate, middle-management dress styles for Church.

You kind of asked what we would do different, but the title of the post was what would we keep.

Keep List:
1. The Eucharist with every congregational meeting (aka the Sacrament).
2. Keep congregational participation. I like that we preach to each other, but add in one of the speakers being more "pro."
3. Family noise and cheerios in the chapel during the meeting, don't ship all the kids to some daycare while the "adults" worship
4. Fast and testimony meeting, but maybe once a quarter and seriously give members better training and guidance.
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SilentDawning
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Re: LDS Worship: What Would You Keep?

Post by SilentDawning » 13 Jul 2010, 06:47

1. Reduce sacrament meeting to two hymns and two speakers. Use the saved time for announcements and business in Priesthood/RS meeting. Institute a gospel activity period in primary with the extra time.

2. Use a recorded prayer for the sacrament. The number of times I cringe when I hear the prayer said wrong is astounding. It's really annoying and emotionally scarring to the new member who is embarrased at the sacrament table. If we can use recorded scripts in the temple, it should be good enough for sacrament meeting.

3. Stop overcrowding buildings with too many Wards. The pounds per square inch in our HP meeting is a dis-incentive to attending the meeting at all.

4. Publish a new set of contemporary hymns by newer artists like Janice Kapp Perry etcetea. They can be just as reverent, but more contemporary. Also, encourage more contemporar musial selections in the meeting rather than an intermediate hymn.

5. Provide an online course in speaking and teaching for interested people, in areas that have the Internet. Let it be self-paced and provide some kind of certificate or proof of completion. Not as a requirement for taking on callings, but as an indicator of achievement and as a motivator.

6. Provide ongoing stake training meetings where people an get instruction in how to speak and teach well, in areas where travel is practical. Make the courses ongoing about 3 times a year so newly called people of just plain interested people can attend and learn how to improve the lifeblood of our meetings -- effective teaching and speaking.

7. Break Stake Training/Priesthood meetings into an hour of spiritual talks and an hour of workshops. Select the workshops on the basis of a needs analysis and give people choice as to which ones they attend. This will allow for more relevent, less repetitious instruction, and opportunities for people to interact and be more engaged with the topic.

I compare attending Church like going to a restaurant. If you go to the restaurant and he food is cold, the atmospere uncomfortable, the music outdated, youre going to have a hard time retaining people I realize that Stage 5 or 6 people will have reasons independent of hte experince to keep going, but there are many people at low spiritual levels who are put off by the boring and repetitive nature of our meeetings; these suggestions might help improve the overall experience for people who need strengthening.
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canadiangirl
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Re: LDS Worship: What Would You Keep?

Post by canadiangirl » 13 Jul 2010, 07:32

Great Question!! I like the 2 hour idea. This 3 hour business is really getting old. I would keep the sacrament and I would keep the young men performing their priesthood duties. I know it can be embarrassing when a mistake is made but the learning they receive from doing it far outweights any con. (My oldest is 14 and I have been so impressed by his desire to fulfill his priesthood responsibilities. It is so good for him, I'd hate to see them remove that.) I would keep all the music and add more. I would like to see more musical numbers as well. My ward has 2 professional violinists and 4 very accomplished pianists as well as a number of guitarists and vocalists. But, we are always singing a congregational hymn. What a waste. As a musician myself, I'm a bit bored with the hymnal, especially because we are not allowed to use other spiritual music in our meetings. There are only so many arrangements we can perform. I would also love to see more classical music by the greats like Bach and Handel. I realize that there are people who will stretch the idea of appropriate but man I would love to see a trumpet here and there or a guitar. Why are flutes and violins more holy than those other instruments? Strange how these decisions are made. I'd like to see how having the Bishop speak every week would go. I think I would like that, but only if the Bishop wasn't feeling pressure from the top to get better numbers and he felt the need to preach each week on how we're not doing enough. I would also keep one member speaker because the variety would be nice. I'd keep the youth speaker. What a fantastic opportunity for young people to have the experience of public speaking in a relatively safe environment. I would do away with High Council monthly visits and make them quarterly perhaps. One hour of Primary would be plenty for my 7 and 9 year old boys. And of course more meat in the 2nd hour classes.

Wow, it seems I like a bunch of stuff about our Sunday Worship. Who knew? LOL

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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: LDS Worship: What Would You Keep?

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 13 Jul 2010, 09:23

Nathan wrote:...one of the most formative elements of the LDS experience is something that is not doctrinal...style and content of worship...By comparison, LDS sacrament meetings are stale. An upside, of course, is the eventual participation of most members in the congregation...what about the style and content of worship would you change?
Heber13 wrote:...there is often so much that is inefficient with a volunteer/lay clergy leadership which impacts the meetings. There are good aspects of it also...such as participation and learning how to develop leadership and followership, but my Sundays are grueling...The first thing to change, I think, is to go to a 2 hr block and make it more meaningful 2 hrs...
Brian Johnston wrote: 2. Keep congregational participation. I like that we preach to each other, but add in one of the speakers being more "pro."
I would keep many of the same things we already have like some hymns, sermons, and Sunday school lessons; I just think we could get by with a lot less of all of these and whatever we could fit into 2 hours would probably be more than enough for most members. It seems like there is not nearly enough focus on the experience of the average members in attendance and much of this content is mostly about filling time and making sure everyone has callings. For casual members like me sometimes these meetings really do seem worse than a trip to the dentist. Personally, I think we could easily consolidate some of these meetings and callings to achieve more with less overall effort and I really like the idea of at least one "pro" speaker per meeting.

I don't really think we should switch to a paid ministry but I do think it would be a good idea to try to let some of the better speakers or teachers shine and possibly provide them with better training rather than just selecting people at random to fill all these roles. As it is it seems like too many people don't really want to do this half the time and are just going through the motions because they feel like they have to in order to fulfill all their responsibilities and sometimes the lack of enthusiasm and interest really shows. Church has evolved into pure drudgery much of the time and these meetings could really use a shot in the arm to liven things up.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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Re: LDS Worship: What Would You Keep?

Post by Cadence » 13 Jul 2010, 18:10

I can think of many things to eliminate or change, but what would I keep? Maybe the sacrament and a closing prayer. Everything else could be altered to make a much more enriching experience.
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Re: LDS Worship: What Would You Keep?

Post by SamBee » 13 Jul 2010, 19:04

I'd keep the Book of Mormon, but I'd ditch the white shirt, homogenized lessons, and I also think that the televised conference could be changed. Why does General Conference have to be broadcast from inside a building?

It would be nice to have proper social events immediately after every sacrament meeting too.

I would also keep visits to the sick, very important to some people.
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Nathan
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Re: LDS Worship: What Would You Keep?

Post by Nathan » 14 Jul 2010, 12:15

Great thoughts above. Here are some repeats and a few new ones:

Keep: Member participation/involvement
Ditch: Practice of husband as default concluding speaker when husband-wife teams speak

Keep: Cheerios in the pews (families worship together)
Ditch: Toddlers and junior primary bear their testimonies in Sacrament Meeting (Primary will do until baptism: but not as a hard and fast rule)

Keep: Testimony meeting
Ditch: Prevalent notion that tears indicate sincerity, and therefore, truth (better training as mentioned above is sorely needed)
Ditch: Last minute invitations to speak, and the speaker prefacing his/her comments with this disclaimer (bad form all-the-way-around)

Keep: Current Hymn Book
Ditch (Add): Other Hymn Books
Ditch (Add): Twice-a-year instruction (preferably in Sacrament Meeting, but SS would also work) on reading/singing music
Ditch (Add): Electric guitars and kazoos (okay--maybe not--see cowbell above) but at least additional instruments

I'll add more later . . .

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