Routine is an enemy. It’s a ghost. It will sneak in unnoticed and steal away what was once creative and turn it into a tradition. Routine is something to be avoided at all costs. Routine is not creative. Routine is a pattern, at best done because it worked, at worst because it’s habit.
I’m talking about routine, when it comes to worship services. (However, it should be said that routine in your personal worship will also – most likely – lead you down a road to tradition and habit, not relationship. It should also be said that there are areas of life where routine is good – I’m not talking about those.) I know for us, right now, there are definite routines. We do certain elements in certain places. We do a minimum number of songs and have elements that have to be in a certain place for one reason or another. When I started at the church, I started doing a welcome – just a brief hello to people who were there. It wasn’t routine then. It is now.
Routine is easy. We do it because we don’t want to put any effort or thought into doing something different. We do it because we’re afraid something new won’t work. The irony is that while we’re doing the routine that keeps us from doing the new, different thing that might not work, the thing that used to work stops working. Now, we’re stuck doing something that’s not working, afraid to try something new.
Routine is comfortable. Routine is Selfish. We do routine because it feels like what we know. We do routine because it worked for us. We do routine because we’re so focused on what we want that we lose sight of what’s best for everyone else – the people we’re supposed to be leading.
I have to say, I’m embarrassed about the routine in the worship services I’m responsible for. I do it because it’s easy. I do it because it’s hard work to come up with something new. I do it because I’m lazy. The sad thing is, my laziness is taking away from the possible worship experience of those who attend each and every weekend.
So, what’s the solution. Creativity. More on that later.