Saturday, June 2, 2012

A New Approach to Worship

At the end of this month, our church is going to experiment once again with our approach to worship and Sunday School:  what will happen when we mix them into one, hour-long event?

Long-time readers of this blog will know that we've experimented before.  Long ago, we experimented with intergenerational Sunday School (go here and here to read more).  It was wildly successful for the first year, less so in later years.  We experimented with Sunday School Improv, using drama to teach (go here for links to these entries).  We've done a lot with puppets.

We've also experimented on the worship side.  We tried to infuse each Sunday in Advent with a creative project for the youth to do (go here for more).  We had a family service for Easter that our pastor tried to make more interactive.

I think our pastor had been having thoughts of trying something new for a long time.  We have noticed that our Sunday School programs go great guns for the first few months, and then attendance drops radically.  We have decided to stop fighting a battle we won't win:  most people are not going to spend 3 hours in church on a Sunday (Sunday School, church, coffee time).  If people only have an hour on a Sunday morning, then how much can we pack into that hour?

Of course, I will be documenting this process.  We hope to combine some of the best elements of what's worked in both worship and the Sunday School side, along with some elements from Vacation Bible School.  We have a huge contingent of former drama geeks for such a small church, so there will be drama of all sorts.  We have music folks.  We have people like me, who want to do more to infuse creative arts beyond music into both worship, Sunday School, and daily lives.

And of course, there will be Communion, both of the Eucharist kind and the fellowshipping kind.

It will be an interesting hybrid.  It will likely be messy at times.  We will create our own resources, but because we know from past Sunday School experiences of the kind of time this takes, we will also use resources that already exist.

Tomorrow I'll write a bit more about the Easter family worship service and what worked in that service.


Di said...

Do you think (and I'm not casting stones, it's a real question) that we need something new, or is it really that we need something deeper, and we can't figure out how to get from here to there?

Kristin said...

You bring up a solid point, and it's one I've thought about a lot. I think that children and youth, especially, need something new, an approach to church unlike what we've been doing.

I think there are plenty of people, like me, who yearn for something much deeper. Much deeper. I often think that it's a problem of not being able to get there from where I am, because I'm fairly certain that most church people don't yearn for what I want.

But it's a little late to realize that I'm yearning for something like a monastic kind of community where we'd worship more than once a week and in an ancient kind of way--since I'm now married, and a homeowner in a place where the real estate market hasn't recovered even remotely, and emeshed in a different life in all kinds of ways.

And of course, I've met many people who are convinced that if we just went back to the way we did church in the 1950's (or choose your own favorite ideal time), rightness would be restored.

Thanks for commenting; I'm following your seminary progress with great interest and vicarious appreciation!