Worship as a springboard for people living their faith the rest of the week is the key idea I take away from week 6 of the Lift Project, Leading for Transformation class. The idea that in worship we not only gather, but we train for transformation. Build in worship practices not only for the worship hour, but the worship life.
The goal of this week’s class is to “share ideas about how to leverage the gathering for spiritual transformation.” The class also looked how to promote transformation in the lives of people throughout the week. This is one of those “duh” concepts. Worship is a gathering of a community of faith. Most churches get that. The emphasis to use this as training time to not only follow along in a bulletin or in a liturgical process, but to leverage this time to help people experience God throughout their daily lives filled this week’s class with high value. 4 videos and 2 articles re-enforced this understanding.
Video 1: Bill Hybels on the Gathering
In this brief 2 minute clip, Bill raised the stakes in worship to go beyond the idea of experiencing the presence of God on your own, to what it might look like to experience God together as group. What might be different? What might be the same? How can personal and corporate experiences of God re-enforce each other?
Video 2: Aarnon Niequist interviewed by Mindy Caliguire
Here’s why the idea of worship as a springboard to impact experiencing God the other 6 days came from. Parts of the worship service are not solely for warm up to the weekly message, but part of the process of providing “a spiritual catalytic experience.”
Such experiences require space in the worship service to enter into solitude, to not just sing the lyrics of a song, but to engage them. It’s one thing to sing, “Heal my heart and make it clean”. It’s even more powerful to take a break with those lyrics to come before God for forgiveness, to seek God’s healing process in solitude as community, and then to sing those lyrics once again.
I also liked the idea of working testimonies in that tie into the lyrics being lived out in the flesh. I thought of the song, “I don’t want to go through the motions” and how powerful it might be in the midst of that song to pause and have someone talk about the transformation such a change in life of going through the motions to making an impact has been. The re-enforcement of such powerful lyrics with a powerful testimony is a great way to leverage both in worship.
Article 1: Reflections on the Gathering
Working through various Scripture passages, questions to engage those verses, and time for reflection provided some clarity in viewing the transformation possibilities in weekly worship. One of the Scripture passages I worked through was Nehemiah 8. I noticed not only the reading and teaching of the Law, but this time around noticed the body movements of the people — standing, bowing, hands raised, and perhaps my favorite of all the priest commanding the people to rejoice and feast. Worship is not meant to be a passive participation, but an active transformation as one gathers and in the case of Nehemiah 8 as one lives out such faith through out the week.
Video 3: Corinne Gunter interviewed by Mindy Caliguire
Corinne built on the power of drilling down on one spiritual habit, not simply a crash course on five. I liked her idea of not only the focus of developing one, but providing a framework for such a focus and building in experiences in worship, in groups, and as an individual during the week to live out such habits.
At Christ Lutheran, we have been doing this with engaging God’s Word in our 40 Days in the Word emphasis. In worship, in small groups, and in developing daily habits, we are looking at drilling down on this practice of how do I engage God’s Word in a devotional way? In a way that emphasizes application and prayer?
Corinne for me affirmed the value of not only a worship emphasis, but laying out next step experiences. I especially found valuable time built in her group to come back and reflect on the previous week’s experiences. The power of people telling stories of transformation as they live out these habits is a great motivator for people to engage.
Article 2: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath
This brief article provided a glimpse of how Corinne has put the habit of Sabbath in a framework to be learned and experienced, and even better applied and lived.
Video 4: Spiritual Formation in Groups by Mindy Caliguire
In this quick 5 minute video, Mindy looked at the role of spiritual formation in small groups and the dynamic of interpersonal relationships. Spiritual formation is often seen as an individual activity. The other class materials had primarily focused on the weekend gathering, Mindy drilled down on the power of experiencing God’s presence in each other and learning to leverage that for mutual growth.
There was a lot to cover this week, even better a lot to chew on. The image of springboard for worship will stick with me, I’m ready to jump in!
How about you how do you leverage weekend worship for daily growth with others and on your own?