This week I witnessed real courage of Pastor Michael Kooy of Grace Community Christian Reformed Church, in Oak Lawn. I was speaking at an open meeting that he had called in order to consider worship renewal at the church- especially how preaching might be improved. This is a project funded by a grant from Calvin Institute for Christian Worship.
I commented how unusual this occasion was - for two reasons. Not only have some leaders in this church taken time out to reflect on their worshiping life - and how often does that take place? (Too often busyness drives us to the next thing with minimum reflection). But, much more daringly, the pastor has opened up one of the most personal areas for reflection and action - that of preaching.
Later Pastor Kooy said that someone in the Calvin Institute had also commented how unusual it was for a pastor to allow others to think through how preaching could be improved. "I don't think many pastors would let this happen!" they said. I reckon that's right! Many of us preachers just aren't willing to see whether renewal might begin with our preaching. (Of course, I realize that when pastors are in a difficult relationships with churches, for any number of reasons, it is impossible to have healthy reflection like this).
I was exhilarated by the quality of openness and discussion. For the record, many spoke appreciatively of Pastor Kooy's preaching. He is obviously loved and highly regarded and has a right measure of security. But I think most of us also realized what a special opportunity there might be for worship renewal here. I' ll post initial responses from the meeting shortly.