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Worship revisited – part 1

Worship – throwing out the rule book.

Returning to our list of fourteen possible worship activities, here are some practical considerations that may be useful …

First a general consideration. Depending on the size of your congregation and the space available, there could be situations where more than one activity can take place at one time. For instance it may be felt that a single Bible passage is to be the focus of the meeting. Some may feel comfortable with listening to a teacher speak on this passage, in the traditional manner. Others may wish to squirrel themselves away in another room and discuss the passage, yeshiva-style, with some like-minded others. As long as the final outcome is a shared experience for all to benefit, at the end, this could work, but maybe not with every congregation.

We try to implement as many of these as possible at our Foundations conferences.

  • Teaching

Not everyone can teach. In terms of teaching the Word, it is a spiritual gift. It’s not so much whether someone can stand at the front and impart knowledge, it is more to do with that person acting as a channel of the Divine Mind. What sometimes happens in a Church is that those truly gifted as teachers are not necessarily those on the teaching rota. A pastor is not always a teacher, though he/she is often encouraged to give it a go.

So, identify your true teachers, then let them teach from what God has put on their heart, which they may not always know until they are standing at the podium. All the better in that case as there is more chance that the content will be from God rather than man. All that is needed there is the faith and confidence that God will use them in such a way … and then just take the plunge. I have done so and I’ve never looked back!

The human voice is an incredible tool. God has used this device for centuries and still uses it very effectively. As we saw in an earlier Chapter, audible communication is usually more effective than the visual variety. I have used Powerpoints as a cop-out for years now, with the view that at least they’re looking at the screen and not me. The problem is that you can’t always get true engagement with the audience that way, especially if you wish to go off-piste occasionally. Dump the visuals I say!

Then there is the environment. Perhaps we should experiment. Weather permitting, we are hoping to install an outside pulpit and a soapbox at our Foundations conference, to try to rediscover some of the atmosphere of a John Wesley-type rally. There won’t be horses.

  • Music

Although it pains me to say this, not everyone likes loud rock music. I do, but perhaps God would prefer a bit of variety in our musical offerings. I love drums, but not everyone does. Perhaps the congregation should have some say as to the content and delivery, as it’s not meant to be about the worship leader is it? As mentioned in my book To Life!, perhaps the focus can be removed from the music group by placing them behind the congregation, so that the people can focus on the true purpose of their worship, God Himself, rather than admiring guitar styles, attractive singers or dress sense.

If you don’t have skilled musicians, why not go acapella occasionally, rather than singing along karaoke style to a backing track? Or perhaps you can mix it up a bit, or just play a good recording and sing along with it? Or some days don’t have any sung worship?

You should never coerce someone to be a worship leader just because they’re the only one who can string together more than two chords on a guitar. When done well, heavenly places beckon, but when done badly, worship can become a clattering mess, defeating the whole object. It’s best not to have one at all than have someone who is doing it reluctantly or by default.

  • Dance

An in-house dance group can be a real blessing. But it takes a bit of effort. It needs at least one person who is willing to learn from an expert (even over Youtube) and then take charge. There are some good Hebraic dance teachers around. Two who come to mind are Ginnie White (Northern Messianic Dancers) and Vera Chierico (New Jerusalem Dancers).

If someone dances really badly, worship can inadvertently become a comedy routine. The dancer may be personally blessed (because they can’t see what we see) but we need to encourage them to dance in a corner somewhere where they are not the principal focus. It just takes one to drag down the many! But, joking aside, a good dance teacher within the congregation (or even bought in for some lessons) can do wonders, as long as the person is teachable and is reminded about the function of a dancer, which is to draw people closer to God.

Continued next week …

This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp

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