Covenant is a United Methodist faith community committed to providing a place where all people can experience a dynamic and life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ. All are welcome. I realize that if you are a very religious person – one who places a great deal of value on your churchness – you might take offense at what I am about to say. None is intended.
One of the major problems within the church is the presumption that people who do not go to church, a group I like to refer to as “people,” are somehow less Godly than us. This presupposes that unless a person attends a church somewhere, he or she is in need of what the church has to offer. I will say my faith embraces the notion that all people need Jesus. That is about as far as I can go, though. When it comes to people, my take is pretty straightforward: everyone has something of sacred worth.
All people, whether they have been in church all their life or never in their life, ought to be loved. If this message hasn’t already been troublesome, here is where it might get offensive. Someone who is irreligious is not automatically a Godless heathen, anymore than someone who is über religious is automatically a follower of Christ.
There are many reasons a person may not be into the whole church scene. After all, someone has to be at work to take our coffee order on our way to church on Sundays. And here’s a thought – not all church experiences are positive. Some can be dry, boring and lifeless, a yawnapalooza. Some are condemning and harsh. Some require nicer clothing than a person may own. Some don’t want anyone new. Some are slick and well-produced, but when all is said and done have no noticeable effect on those who attend.
Is it any real mystery why we in the church have such an unimpressive reputation and even less appeal?
All this begs the question: Can we “do church” in a way that would make the unaffiliated love – not just want, but love – to attend? I believe there is. It requires creating a worship that is raw, passionate and unhindered. It also requires accepting that it is God, not us, who awakens a person’s spiritual life. We simply have to be willing to think outside of the church box, and know that there are other, less orthodox ways to offer worship.
While the typical Sunday morning model of worship is valid, it is not the only one that has merit and provides the means to connect with God. Other approaches are just as valid.
At Covenant, we have put our passion for God and heart for people at the center of our planning alternatives to church as usual. What we came up with is Omega Worship, a Tuesday night worship service that is unapologetically designed with the irreligious in mind. (Kudos to our somewhat irreligious worship leader, Joseph Nordan, whose deep faith and creative gifts for music and worship birthed this idea.)
Omega Worship offers loud, upbeat music that stirs the soul. It offers practical messages that try to make sense of Jesus’ life and its implications for us. It seeks to offer community in which people can unite around their common love and quest for God. And it provides a safe place to wrestle with questions, because we accept that people most often come with more questions than answers. In short, it seeks, like Jesus did, to meet people where they are and welcome them along the journey to a deeper, more dynamic faith.
Is it possible to worship God on Tuesdays? We believe it is. We do it every week. And we’d love it if you’ come worship with us. (Especially if you’re one of the “people”). The “dress code” is whatever you have on at the time, the coffee is always hot, and the worship is genuine.
Omega Worship meets each Tuesday at 7 p.m., at Covenant, located at 4536 Washington Road. We’re in Eagle Point Plaza, between Walmart and Gibbs Road, in Evans.
(Randy Monk is pastor of Covenant United Methodist Church.)