Wednesday, August 27, 2008

flattening worship leadership

I've been contemplating two ways to make worship leadership and participation more communal.  I've had fun thinking about them, and thought they might be even more fun to think about together, with you:

-Using text messaging to share prayer leadership.  What if, during worship, people to text their prayer, it would appear on our screen, and be shared by the community?  I love the opportunity to share prayers, but feel like our "joys and concerns" time often creates a sense of insiders/outsiders that isn't overly welcoming to new people.  And, it sometimes takes a lot of time.  (I like the idea that texting might push us to say things with fewer characters.)  

I think something like Twitter would be cool, but I'm not much of a tweeter, so I don't know if it's best; if people have to create an account, that would be lame.  My other current best idea is to ask people to text message to an email address; it could be received by the computer running MediaShout with our projector, and cut and paste into the presentation.  I'm sure churches are doing this already, but it's certainly not the norm in ours.  I think it would be nice to think about using text msgs for praying, though.

-Xerocratic worship leadership.  "Xerocracy" is my new favorite word.  It comes from Critical Mass bike riding communities, and refers to the practice of making decisions based on who has the convincing photocopy; the hierarchy-free Critical Mass community apparently chooses its rides by xerocratic decision.  So, I'm thinking, what would xerocratic worship leading look like?  What if folks just showed up, and the person with the best worship design would lead?

Dangerous to the power of clergy like me, I know.

But, as I explored the idea on Wikipedia, it seemed to sound a lot like one of my favorite moments at General Conference this past May: when we elected a new group of Judicial Council members based on the unofficial, last-minute, communal and authentic hallway networking of a bunch of delegates, who had $20 to spend a Kinko's to help make their consensus known to others.  There was no name on the flyer, which was passed among delegates; it honestly came from no official group.  Xerocratic-style.  And, there, it prevailed over much better-funded efforts to keep our Judicial Council dominated by the same folks who brought us exclusive and Spirit-limiting decisions for the past 4 years.

I wonder how to help cultivate that spirit of investment, participation, authenticity to the people involved and innovative revelation in our weekly worship...

(I'm also excited to be headed out on my first Critical Mass ride this Friday!)

1 comment:

eshams said...

I'm both excited and frightened by the prayer texting idea. Let me know how it goes if you try it.

In the meantime, here are some other ideas for "flattening" worship: make it less planned in the first place by cutting out bulletins!; try to have a brief discussion about the scripture in small groups or as a big group; let music ideas arise from the group from a list of standards/favorites; more quiet time; have prayer in small groups sometimes.

BTW, in and through most of these suggestions, a skillful worship leader is still very helpful and important to help make connections and help people see threads that may or may not tie together in varying combinations.

Maybe, if there's a somewhat stable worship group, you can try to find your worship rhythm together. Cut out bulletins and try something more like praise, word, petition, quiet, sending-forth. Try it over 4-6 weeks; let people know the idea is to free up worship and invite their responses.