Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More on youth worship at General Synod

I received an email today from one of the organisers of the monday night evening worship at General Synod. In it he said, "You’ll be pleased to know that some of your critiques have been bubbling away in the back of my mind and a general self awareness that sometimes when leading worship I just do what is easy or what I think the “audience” expects. I think that it is important to help people connect with God where they are at, but I have also felt called in the past to help people grow in their understanding of worship and to connect with God in deeper ways in the midst of our worship times"

In about two weeks we are running a training event on Mission Shaped Youth Ministry I have been doing some reading as I am one of the presenters (and am feeling not ready really). I have just re-read the last chapter in "Mission Shaped Youth Ministry" edited by Tim Sudworth, which had some really interesting things to say about worship. The author, Chris Russell, contrasts content with form, noting the form of worship had to be authentic to the culture of the young people, but the content had to be authentically Christian, authentic to the long tradition of what Christian worship is. I found this really helpful. He notes that a lot of what is authentically Christian is in fact very counter cultural, and sometimes not easy to translate into this culture, but that we need to do that for it be real.

So, yeah, worship is not about providing what the audience expects, but taking them to places quite unexpected, quite out of their comfort zones, so that they can "connect with God in deeper ways" and in ways that will mould their lives, for all their lives. Deep stuff really. I am looking forward to reading more, thinking more, and the conversations about what all this is about.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Evening Woship at General Synod

I have just returned from our General Synod. One of the highlights for me was the evening worship on the Monday night, led by the band Phono. Antony Dancer had invited them to lead the worship which was also the launch of a DVD celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Hikoi of Hope. It was excellent contemporary liturgy (in my humble opinion) Not that they used lots of the prayer book. Or that we did lots of liturgical responses even. Most of the time they sang to a PowerPoint we watched. So how was that good liturgy?
Well, it used the flow of the template. It used liturgical responses to Gather. The songs and PowerPoint were used to tell and reflect on the biblical story (Story), and the liturgical response at the end sent us out. (Go)
Secondly, through the words on the PowerPoint and the words sung we heard and read “large chunks of scripture” – one of my pet subjects when it comes to worship.
Thirdly it used both the singular and the plural pronoun, - another one of my pet subjects.
Lastly it was creative, engaging, and yet really simple.
Well done Phono for leading us in this time of liturgical worship.