Interesting observations here at the SMH re participation in a service which, as far as I can tell, could have been just about anywhere in Australasia. (H/T Noble Wolf). Incidentally we need to make as much use as we can of the free access to the SMH which is about to go behind a paywall!
Not every service which begins casually is necessarily a "dumbed down" service. But there are some big questions facing churches Down Under as we work out what it means to prepare and perform services of worship in a culture which celebrates casualness, in churches which, for one reason or another, have absorbed deep presuppositions which are antagonistic to the former way of doing things, and in an atmosphere of fear that we will die if we do not capture the next generations for the cause of Christ. In such a context it is (in my view) too easy to 'throw the bathwater out with the baby', to change, for instance, every aspect of worship services, rather than, say, just the music.
In terms of the article, we have a challenge to think more carefully, and prayerfully, about form, structure and content for worship services in the 21st century. The 'feel' of them must be different to, say, the 1950s. But what in form, structure or content contributes to the right 'feel'?
One final observation re this article: I think we have gotten to where we are in many instances re the character of our services because we have adjusted them to suit the congregation as it gathers (which is often an eclectic mix of backgrounds in several denomination) but in doing so have lost sight of what constitutes an accessible service for the stranger, newcomer, or returner. There is always a missional edge to whatever we do in the church.