Chapter 54

One Sermon, Two Messages

How to deliver one sermon at two completely different services

My church has two distinct worshiping communities. The traditional community meets in the sanctuary. Its design is hushed and Spartan, with subtle gray walls, indirect lighting, white cornices and woodwork, and a choir loft directly behind me as I preach. The pews are long and straight, arranged in Puritan concert-hall fashion. The pulpit, with its clean lines, is a dignified symbol of tradition, authority, and austerity. When you enter the sanctuary, you are quiet. The organ sets the mood of somberness.

Worship here is informed by Enlightenment rationality: God is the wholly Other whom you approach at a distance by the mediated steps of classical artistry in word and song.

The contemporary worshiping community, on the other hand, gathers in the sunny Great Room. The chairs are stackables, arranged in a sweeping semicircle of eye-to-eye intimacy. The acoustics in the room are poor, but that doesn't matter, since the praise team is powered by amplified speakers pointed in every direction. ...

book Preview