The Sin of Boring Church

Earlier, a conversation happening at UNCO asked the question "Why can't we get as excited about church as we do about the new Star Wars movie?"

As someone who engages with the meeting places of faith and culture, I've thought about this question before.
As someone who leads worship and preaches, leading a congregation in faith formation, I've thought about this question before.
I knew my answer.

While I am prone to hyperbole (aren't all preachers?) I really believe this to be true.

My friend Tripp Hudgins called me out on this, and invited me to a deeper, more nuanced conversation about it.

Now, let me be clear - Tripp is one of the smartest people I know. He has spent years studying worship, and I learn a lot from him. We agree on much more than we disagree on - and in our disagreement I continue to learn from his wisdom.

(Read Tripp's counterpoint to this post - "In Praise of Boredom")

Now, to the point.

The church has been entrusted with one of the most exciting stories ever. A story filled with drama and intrigue, with humor and sadness, with celebration and sorrow.

Yes, the overarching story - the story of creation and redemption, of God and the world.
But also the stories within the story - stories of death and resurrection, of adventure and betrayal, or redemption and romance.

Most people experience our telling of this powerful story like Mr Bean:

The church has been handed this gift - these powerful, world-changing stories - and all too often we tell them as if they are as exciting as watching paint dry.

And that's a sin.

It is a disservice to and misuse of the gift that God has entrusted to us. 

Not all of our proclamation is needs to be "exciting" - it's not about turning the church nonstop into the adrenaline rush of watching Rey pilot the Millennium Falcon (although there are moments like that).
But our proclamation should always be engaging.

Proclaiming the story invites us to be a part of it. 
Their story then becomes my story now.

Some clarifications.

This is not about worship style - contemporary or traditional or postmodern or ancient-modern, they can all be boring, they can all be engaging.

It's not about preaching style - manuscript or not, behind a pulpit or perambulating - they can all be boring, they can all be engaging.

I agree with Tripp: boredom - that place of giving one's mind the unencumbered space to wander free - can be a beneficial part of the life of faith.

But the central act of proclamation, within the central gathering of the worshiping community, should not be boring.

We have gotten lazy with how we tell the story.

We (proclaimers) need to re-learn the power of inviting people into the drama of the story entrusted to us.
We need to let boring church die, and engaging church be reborn.

Our task, our calling, is to invite people into the most exciting and amazing story of all time and give them the tools to make it their own story.

And there is nothing boring about that.