Monday, August 9, 2010

503 Project Refinement

I have found that I best work on my projects in my head. The following was all in my head until last night. Actually, most of it was on bits of paper here and there, but I have been honing it down and I think I am at a good starting point. Please join in the conversation on this one. If you have any ideas or experience to share please do!

1. Address a particular ministry issue relating to postmodernism.

a. Is it possible for a traveling summer music ministry team like Wellspring plant seeds of worship renewal?

2. Point to particular theological propositions or positions under which the project is developed

a. “Moving from program worship to participatory worship.” Constance Cherry in her article Shifting from Professional Programs to Participatory Worship

i. Is it possible to move Camp worship from listener-observer (passive) and individual focused programming to active (shachah, proskuneo) and participatory-fellowship focused (koinonia) worship?

b. “Worship is doing God’s story.” Robert Webber in Ancient-Future Worship

i. How does a traveling summer music ministry team introduce worship in the context of doing God’s story?

ii. What are the challenges?

iii. What are some of the available opportunities?

3. Offer viable, concrete, and tangible solutions to issues in your context

a. Interview past Wellspring members on their experience at camps

b. Song Pairings

i. Good food is enhanced when paired with good wine, what are ways that worship song can be linked in pairings and combinations to create arcs or a flow that purposefully and intentionally tell God’s story?

c. What are ways we can introduce the idea of God’s Story into team training?

i. Emphasis on individuals coming together to join God’s Narrative.

ii. Encouraging community dialogue among team members as they create a team narrative.

1. Like tributaries into a river: Individual Narratives -> Wellspring Narrative -> God’s Narrative

4. Discuss how those solutions are more appropriate for your particular context than other solutions are—that is, how they are localized and contextualized solutions

a. Different ministries approach summer traveling music ministries in different ways.

b. I will be talking about specific camps, other camps may not have this problem.

c. Does having a Worship Arts major give us an advantage in this pursuit? If so how can we use that advantage? If not how can we benefit from the program?

5. Explain how such solutions are going to be implemented in resolving the issues.

a. Discuss the philosophy behind the “Christian Camp.”

b. Interview Wellspring team members to see if there opportunities for change.

c. I have kept track of the songs the teams have used this summer, see if there is any.

d. Present my findings

e. For the second part of my project I would put together a training service - Finding God’s story in our lives and applying that to the Wellspring Narrative. Also, show examples of participatory, corporate, God’s story focused worship song pairings. Do this in the context of a service/practicum for the team members.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Do Worship

As I talk about worship, I easily find myself thinking “what is worship and how do we go about worshiping?” I am very pleased to find that most people when asked this question will say that worship is our lives. As the corny t-shirt says, we were “Made to Worship.” Great, we made to worship, but I seem to lose people when I talk about what being made to worship implies. If I had a dollar for every time I heard an announcement guy say “wasn’t that great worship?” or a pastor say “we are going to have more worship in a minute,” or even a worship leader say “Let’s get ready for (some) worship!” I would certainly have enough money to pay someone else to write my blogs. The problem is that we have been conditioned to compartmentalize worship. Worship is something I 1) do at church for 15-20 minutes near the front half of a church service 2) do while cranking Tomlin at 11 as I cruse through town or 3) am only participating in when I feel the Lord moving. I heard a youth pastor explain worship like this “we are like lightning rods, and worship is happening when God is striking those lighting rods.” Seriously? Worship seems to have become synonymous with God responding to us or specific songs and feelings. When we feel God’s response worship has been accomplished.

In our attempts to be contemporary and unleash passion in worship we have created strict boundaries to what (and when) actions are worship. This is worship music, this is worship time, when this song plays it is the worship portion, the sermon is definitely not worship, or my favorite tweet of all time “My favorite worship music is the kind I can go nuts to.” And in a way the expectation of feeling in worship is a significant part of these boundaries. There needs to be a line drawn that says there is a difference between this false “time to do worship” and doing worship. Robert Webber says “Worship is Doing God’s Story.”(1) According to Scripture God’s story has a lot more to do with creation, redemption and recreation than it does with whether an up-beat song is better to worship to than a slow song.

Even Christ dealt with this. When talking to a Samaritan woman at a well, the woman basically asked “Isn’t our worship better than their worship?” And Christ responded “No, you say you worship on this mountain or in this temple, but there will come a time where you will worship in Spirit and in Truth.” (2) To worship in Spirit and in Truth. Wow. To worship in Spirit – to worship with the entire family of believers throughout the ages, to worship with one breath at the eternal wedding banquet, one voice to the Father, in the name of the Son, through the Holy Spirit and to do it in Truth – United and living out the Triune message in the world. This doesn’t sound like the Sunday morning “do” worship to me. Worship shouldn’t just seep into the cracks of my life; it should be what every brick of my being is made of. And it isn’t even a matter of should because it is whether we know it or not because well, we were made to worship.

Are there elements that are more conducive to a worshipful mind set? Sure. But let us not get carried away. We must continually question whether or not a worship of moods and creative resources has surpassed our worship of the Creator.

1 - Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God's Narrative. Robert Webber. Baker Books, 2008.

2- From John 4:21-24