I have to chuckle at that headline, not because I don’t know there are tons of Baptists who won’t get within ten feet of Lent and barely know what to do with Communion, but because I remember when I was also deeply suspicious of anything even vaguely “liturgical.”
Introducing unfamiliar practices to church members can be challenging, but congregations often are far less resistant than expected, according to some pastors who have tried it.
“I think people are hungry for ritual, especially those who don’t come from a Christian tradition which has them,” said Sterling Severns, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. “Communion is the closest many Baptists come to ritual. But there’s something that is inside Scripture, a way that God uses ritual and rhythm to help people understand something about God’s nature.
“I think that instinct is also inside us, and we don’t know it,” said Severns, who introduced his congregation to Lent soon after he was called to the Richmond church. “And sometimes when we start sharing these rituals with individuals unfamiliar with them, it taps into something they didn’t even know they were hungry for. When we bring ritual to the rhythm of worship, it’s one of the things that bring us together.”
Lift up your hearts!