What should Church really be all about?
More ways to worship God.
Carrying on from the previous article, what are these worship possibilities? I have fourteen in mind (you could probably think of others), in no particular order. Here is the final batch …
- Bible reading
God primarily speaks through His Word, so what can be better than the recital of the pure, unadulterated Word of God, allowing a direct connection between His Spirit and ours. Most services provide a slot for a Bible verse or two, but perhaps there can be more than this?
Prayer is dealt with in many different ways. In the High Church there would be set prayers, some specific for different times of year or occasions. In other expressions, worshippers will usually have time for open prayer, though it tends to be the ‘usual suspects’ who are sufficiently emboldened. Yet spontaneity sometimes needs even more freedom than this and perhaps the whole concept of prayer in a service needs to be released from its shackles?
The higher the Church, the more this seems to be taken seriously, with set liturgies to remind us to spend a moment in reflection and purposeful repentance. Perhaps this is something that needs to be taken more seriously by the others, if only to release the burdens of unconfessed sins in our lives, so that God can have a better channel to communicate with you?
This is often something that is “bought in” as a treat, inviting in an external team on a special occasion. Yet there may be some in your congregation who are gifted in this area but have not been presented with an outlet. This doesn’t have to be major three act drama productions, it could be just a 30 second mime, but if it fulfils the purpose of drawing people to God then it should be encouraged.
- Creative arts
Many people are gifted in the areas of painting, drawing, writing, knitting, crochet, pottery etc. How many have been encouraged to develop and use these skills in the form of worship during a service? Creative people need to be able to worship God creatively and often have a low boredom threshold (personal experience here!). Can something be done?
- Bible study
There’s Bible Study and there’s BIBLE STUDY. We read earlier about Yeshivas and Beit Midrash meetings where there is a real sense of noisy wrestling over the Word and constant questioning. How can this be integrated into a Church service?
Any church that doesn’t give scope for people to share a recent testimony should be ashamed of itself. This needs to be encouraged as a regular feature and creative ways should be sought for those who are shy or inarticulate.
We are not islands and many of us need to worship corporately. God will often take people on shared journeys, so we must be open to chatting to like-minded people, as long as we don’t stray off-topic (e.g. football, Strictly Come Dancing)
There needs to be some acknowledgement of this grave historical sin of the Church that, as we have seen, hasn’t fully gone away. Prayers for the peace of Jerusalem should be the minimum on offer and I am happy to send you a Liturgy of Reconciliation, written by Fred Wright, to be used in the context of a service. You should also consider the implications of looking at biblical feasts, erroneously called Jewish Festivals, in order to provide a connection to the Jewish community.
This is the only activity Jesus advised us to keep, in remembrance of Him. It is therefore most definitely an act of worship to do so
Acts of service to each other are also acts of worship to He who created us. We must think of practical ways that we can serve each other.
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp