This book is about Christian worship. It is a mixture of practical ideas, stories and theory gathered from my experience of alternative forms of worship over the last few years. It is not a strict service book or a lecture in just theory, it is a seed of ideas that will hopefully help you create your own worship on your own and with others.
However you will also find in this book an outline on how to run a very particular type of service. If that is what you want to use as a starting point I would encourage you to remember that you are allowed to change it for your needs as required.
Explorers and Guides
Dr Smith and his companions pushed their way deeper into the great heartland of the Jungle. Sweat poured from the five travelers faces, and their kaki garments stuck to them like a second skin. They had been making hard progress all day, gradually ascending what they hoped would be the hill on which the Lost City was constructed. Dr Jones, a biologist was already excited, he had observed countless as yet undiscovered species of insects and mammals, as well as some fascinating lizards. A third man, Dr Green had been mesmerized earlier that day by a remarkable orchid, his notebook was already bulging with notes and drawings. But still they pushed on, Dr Smith had but one goal in his minds eye, the Lost City.
They broke through a particularly tough thicket of vines and undergrowth, and Dr Smith gave a triumphant shout. There before him lay the Lost City. They had discovered it. All three of the learned men where delighted. The other two travelers however just smiled to themselves.
After all they were the parties local guides and they had seen this before.
Many years ago western explorers began to investigate our planets great jungles. Names such as Dr Livingston are well known to us, but the names of those explorers’ local native guides are lost. It was the guides who knew the paths and the pitfalls, but in our minds it is the explorers who did the discovering. The aim of this book is not to be a Dr Livingston but to be guiding itself, helping you to make your own discoveries.
This picture of Guide and Explorer also sums up how you can use the ideas in this book with other people. If you decide to organize a worship service then you and others will become guides yourselves, helping other people discover new and fresh ways of worship, and hopefully avoiding some of the pitfalls in the process.
Why so Different
The worship ideas in this book may seem very different to those you have previously encountered. Some may make you uneasy, and others may make you jump out of your chair and shout ‘yes’! So why now, why write a book like this, and where do these ideas come from? Time for the theory bit.
You may well have heard the term postmodernity. It is used to describe a number of things, often contradictory! However one of its uses is to sum up a whole shift in the way our culture acts and thinks. This shift isn’t just about younger people, people of all ages are thinking differently.
Some of things people are now wanting can be summed up:
- Stories rather than just rules.
- A blend of both style and content.
- Multisensory stimulus.
- Freedom to explore and experiment.
- Opportunities for creativity.
- A mix of sources and traditions.
This book, and the worship ideas within it, is a response to my own desire for those things and the desires of those, both young and old, around me. It is not the only valid response, but it is one that I hope can help others work on their own responses.
There are quite a lot of ideas in this book that are non-directive. That is instead of telling people to do certain things with certain things people are given an Item with some pointers and left to their own devices. This leads to a very creative approach to worship. I would also suggest that if you do want to pursue some of the ideas in this book in a gathering that you invite other people to take part in the creative process. The idea is to release people to create worship from their own culture, lives and experiences rather than enforcing someone else’s ideas upon them. Sometimes we all want a book that will tell us what to do, and you could use this book this way, but it would be much better if instead reading this book lead to a community of people creating their own ideas and worship.