During seminary I read a seminal book by Howard Synder? that discussed the gospel and how we deliver the gospel. When you attend worship no matter how you slice it there is singing and praying and teaching, but the structures that surround those elements need to change with time and changing needs.
Yesterday I attended a church that had grown from 600 to over 6000 in five years, the kind with police and parking attendants to get people in and out of the parking lot. I was living here when it started and know it was built to 600 on the Bill Hybels seeker sensitive model and for years met in my kids high school.
Five years ago the new pastor came on the condition that the church would adopt a different and more purposeful missional model which was styled on Micah 6:8. live justly, love mercy, act humbly. In other words instead of worrying about how to get butts in the seats they want to get butts out into the world to help and serve. The bells and whistle of the wineskins were not the attracting....look at our coffee shop, see our cute themes, are'nt we cool christians? Let us help you have a better family, a sexier sex life, ect. ad nauseum.
This church had all the new bells, comfortable theater seating, darkness and mood lighting for the singing, but here something was different, here the new wine was served. It was about Jesus and the gospel and families giving themselves for others. The baptism service was moving and the testimonies tell of people who had fleeting or poor church experiences and how this fellowship had helped them sort through the false and find the real.
These people have the bells and whistles that caused so many of us problems as we dealt with people resisting change with appeals to tradition and threats of leaving or fighting, or anguished appeals to "we've always done it this way". The people at this service came along after all those struggles, and they are benifitting from getting wine from new wine skins that fit this culture. I was impressed, and a bit envious.