Oct 23, 2005

NYWC: retrospective - SUPER seminar series #3

The continuing retrospective of adventures involving Tanner (a.k.a. Scott), Scrammy (a.k.a. Brian), God (a.k.a. I AM), and me (a.k.a. I AM not) during our NYWC weekend.

Super Seminar Series #3:

"So, what makes a seminar series super?" you may ask. Time... lots of time. Or in other words, your rear end tends to hurt a bit more by the time it's over.

That is, unless you make a smart choice and go to a highly interactive seminar.

As I'd mentioned before, on my first day I met a very cool gal named Lilly Lewin whom I'd helped set up some interactive prayer stations in the main hall. Since she needed some help again for her seminar (and I was at the convention by the grace of God), I not only made it a point to be of assistant but even managed to talk my buddies in joining me.

Here's the cool-yet-weird thing about a YS convention (at least, one of the cool-yet-weird things about a YS convention): I live in Michigan, yet was attending a convention in Pittsburgh, and managed to make a new friend (named James) who attends the same church I do back home. Not only that, but I found all of this out because I talked my buddy Scott into coming to help - Scott recognized him as a bass player in the church band.

So through Marko's graceful guest pass for me to attend, I ended up meeting and helping Lilly, who the next day I introduced Scott to, then he introduced me to James (whom we later had lunch with), who then by getting to know him I met Joe (the youth pastor at our church) who then introduced me to one person after another from the greater Grand Rapids area... while we were in Pittsburgh.

Or more simply, by living out the Gospel and loving my neighbor as I was loved, I made a friend in a foreign land... then another friend... and another friend... including many of whom I get to continue to see.

Weird... just weird.

Dan KimballAnyway, Lilly's a genius at designing experiential worship stations and invited us to help her in setting up some incredible areas (around the life of John The Baptist) for the seminar she and Dan Kimball led. This provided a great example for the subject on how structured worship can be more than a typical church service or ministry provides. It was appropriately called "Emerging Worship: Designing Worship Gatherings That Move Beyond Preaching And Singing":

  • Defining Worship:
    • Old Testament: "shaha" - to bow down and prostrate ourselves before another in order to do him honor and reverence
    • New Testament: "proskuno" - to kiss the hand towards one
    • Emerging worship: surfacing, newly formed, or just coming into prominence expressions of worship that stay true to Scripture and yet change as culture does.
  • What is changing in our culture which changes how we worship:
    • Culture: The patterns of values, meaning, beliefs, and ideas of a particular time period (generational and worldview)
    • We are moving from a Judeo-Christian Culture to a Post-Christian Culture
    • Generational paradigms
    • Worldview paradigms: When you see a white swoosh you think of Nike... when you see a yellow running stick man you tend to think of AOL. We are a symbolic culture (even though we threw most of our symbols in church out).
  • Some thoughts of application:
    • This means there will be changes in how we express our love for God as well as how we learn. Changes that go way beyond just adding some candles and singing some David Crowder songs.
    • Most of the stuff we do in our churches you can't find in the Bible.
    • In getting rid of the symbols we have lost part of the Story.
  • Exercises:
    • Read Matthew 26:20-30 and list as many senses and physical objects that are contained in the story (see if you can find at least 20).
    • Take the items on you right now and see what kind of an interactive set of stations you can turn them into.
  • Learning styles:
    • By the 6th grade children have usually developed a learning style that will generally remain constant the rest of their lives. According to Marlene LeFever (Learning Styles), for every ten students in an average 6th grade class you will find:
      • 2 auditory learners
      • 4 visual learners
      • 4 tactile/kinesthetic learners
    • Ironically, 50% of all teaching in churches is auditory. That means 8 out of 10 people are not being taught in the way that they learn best. On the other hand, 50% of teachers are auditory learners themselves. Since we tend to teach in the way that we learn, it follows that most teaching is geared towards auditory learners.
  • Creative worship expressions:
    • Prayer: Instead of doing all the praying yourself, what would happen if you invited people to stay and pray together as they are led?
    • Scripture: When was the last time there was space given to meditate on Scriptures (versus just study them for application)?
    • Sacred Space: The room needs to reflect the Story of God... in each gathering ask, "How should this room reflect the part of God's story we're focusing on? What can be used to help God be worshipped here?" Also, it's a good idea to ask, "What is this room communicating without a word having even been spoken yet in a service?"
    • Music: Some of the dangers of the more recent worship emphasis include people who like to stand for a half-hour with their hands raised dominating the experience of those who don't. Perhaps because this is tangible to the church we keep feeding it... we need to teach that there are other ways to worship or that "this is the part of worship where we use music to praise God."
    • Spoken word: Having the pastor move away from the spotlight and center of attention by becoming one of the people (versus sitting on the platform during songs); move away from being the "Bible-answer-man/woman."; present Scripture then create a culture of dialogue about it; empower women up front; involve others in reading Scripture
    • Fine Art: Don't be afraid to use "secular" art in worship settings. In fact, if we use things our people might see or hear again when the leave we just might allow the secular to become sacred
    • Visuals: Take advantage of everything from art canvases, cheap rolling paper, and slide shows to rotate visuals in your room.
    • Video: Instead of paying high prices for stock photography, let your people take some digital photos for you to use as backdrops or sermon accents.
    • Interactive prayer station (for more ideas I'd suggest grabbing a copy of the seminar CD - they flew through many of these)
      • Walking under a Jewish prayer shawl to remind people they are entering a sacred environment.
      • Back to school supplies: Use this as a metaphor to talk with students about going into the school year with God (i.e. use a ruler to ask, "How are you measuring yourself or others?" or scissors to ask, "What in your life needs to be cut out for the picture to be less cluttered?")
      • Salt and world map: Place some salt crystals by a map - as the crystals fall, pray for the Christians in that area of the world to be God's "salt."
      • Word prayers: Have random words on individual strips of paper and invite people to form prayers using the words given.
      • Stone pathway: On a pathway from one station to another, have stones with Sharpie style markers next to them. Invite people to write the name of people they've come across in the past 24 hours that really need prayer.

By the way - many of these notes are straight from the handout that was given while others are my own spin. Dan has some on-line notes from his other seminars at his web site Vintage Church.

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