This past Sunday, my mandate for leading worship was “be different.” In fairness, I should say that none of the ideas were original, but I pulled them together to create a change for The Journey:
- The band was arranged in a broad circle, with the people who came sitting between band members. I wanted to communicate that the music was not something to be performed by one group and consumed by another, but that we were all in this together.
- Art supplies were set up for people to participate in art-worship. Only a few people went for it, but it was a start.
- I tried to make a break from “happy clappy plastic songs”. The tone we created was more intense and moody.
- In the biggest break from established pattern, I used the middle of a song to teach about prayers of complaint, reading Psalm 13 as an example. Then with the music still going underneath, I invited people to come to the microphone, begin with the words “How long,” and state a complaint against God — to which everyone would respond by saying, “How long, O Lord?” I made a point of pushing the microphone away from me to communicate that I was yielding control. Here too, only a few people went for it, and there were moments of awkwardness. But it was a start.
People’s reactions to the morning seem pretty polarized: some loved it, some hated it. There were complaints that “it didn’t feel like church.” Excellent.