Faith is a Verb… Musings by Pastor Tony May 25, 2018
I read an interesting statement recently, and I wondered what all of you thought of it.
“Most worship events benefit the preacher. She uses her theological education to help her understand the weekly biblical text. She takes a few days to read the commentaries and other resources on the text; then she sifts through these findings to create a fifteen to forty-five minute verbal monologue that gets poured over the captive congregation. They hear it once, but the preacher has heard it and worked it over many times.
“If worship is about giving people the opportunity to respond to God in ways that nurture them spiritually and enable them to better engage with the world in which they live, that benefit needs to be spread more widely. The only way I know how to do this is to build a culture of participation at all levels of church and mission, and especially in worship
Participation doesn’t just mean having the congregation sing or pray together. It means making the entire worship event the product of guided of curated involvement—an art installation where the elements of worship are the artifacts. It is worship where a variety of people from all backgrounds, ages, levels of commitment, learning styles, education, and stages of spiritual formation contribute creatively to the content, leadership, and shaping of the worship event. That’s participation. ”
I have talked about worship as participation vs performance/presentation. The intent for the Worship Team is to move us more from performance by the staff and choir to participation of many. However, the Worship Team is struggling. I am struggling to find committed individuals to help curate worship, to contribute creatively to the content, leadership, and shaping of worship. I told the Council last week that I want stop thinking of the Worship Team as a group who creates worship for us and to start thinking of all of us as a Team that Worships together, as a congregation we are a Worship Team.
Creativity grows exponentially with more people in a room bouncing ideas off each other. Remember the boat and all the items we added to it in January and February a year ago? That happened because there were people helping with boat-like metaphors to align with the scripture, people looking for the props, people writing the liturgy, people helping choose music, and people willing to step in and read. It took a team, a Worship Team, to create that. And that kind of thing is possible if we as a congregation are committed to participating in worship to our fullest.
I will be hosting a Spectrum on June 3 to discuss worship, the future of the Worship Team, and how we might have more participation in worship from creating content, to leading, to shaping the worship event. I hope you will join me.
 Mark Pierson, The Art of Curating Worship: Reshaping the Role of Worship Leader, (Minneapolis: sparkhouse press, 2010), p. 63-4.