Worship is not a spectator sport. It is not something done to us or for us by the folks “up front.” Worship is done by all God’s people in participatory ways that form us into disciples who “go and do likewise” in the world. In this series of Thursday Morning offerings, I’m sharing with you three stories about three mentors and including three ideas for worship. Last week we heard about ways for the congregation to “speak of the deepest things.” This week I want to encourage you to involve more people in the work of worship and worship design.
We must “do together!” My young friend Zachary loves to say, “Do together!” as an invitation to work and play with him. Vital worship happens when we truly follow the literal meaning of liturgy–the “work of the people.” Whether your church has a large professional staff or a couple of part-time folks with a few volunteers, the whole community must hear the invitation to “do together.” When the planning, leading and participation in worship includes the whole community in all of its diversity, we will be formed as active disciples who know God’s power and presence in all things.
1) Invite new people to help out the worship team just for a season (get help doing this at www.worshipdesignstudio.com). Read more about brainstorming and getting creative with new faces in the second part of my series on worship brainstorming here.
2) Incorporate the visual set-up for a series as the opening action of the first worship experience of the series. With a general plan for the elements already in mind, invite people to spontaneously help construct the space. For instance, give one person a piece of cloth to drape on a table any way they want; give someone else a vase of flowers or plant to place on the cloth; give someone else a Bible, another a glass bowl of water, another a candle (no matter how they place these things, it looks GREAT because we all saw the scene being created on the spot).
3) If your choir or band usually does an introit or sung invitation to prayer on their own, use a congregational refrain instead for a season. Treat the congregation like a choir, offering more times for them to sing as part of the liturgy/worship.
Little Zachary knows that things are more fun and more fulfilling when shared with others. Yes, we can do “lone-ranger” worship planning and leadership, but isn’t collaboration a more faithful approach to the call to facilitate the people’s work of worshiping God?