Questions and Answers
Can you give examples of moments?
Moments don’t have to be huge. A child reading Scripture can be a “moment” because the tenderness of a child’s voice can melt a passive congregation. Think of reversing the order of your service sometime?hat will create many moments (including the complaint you know you’ll get
I like to use my creative friends in the process of coming up with ideas. I once did an informal poll with 10 congregants. I asked them, “What would surprise you if it happened in worship?” Their answers were actually quite good — like, “I’d love to see the pastor wear a suit and tie some time.” The pastor did it and did a whole sermon on appearances and how they influence our thinking. He suggested that Christ may have been the least impressive and most powerful sandal wearer in history. Why didn’t Christ care as much about how he looked, and instead focused all his attention on others? The sermon was profound.
I work in a small church. Do you suggest that we think “small moments?”
Well, as actors say, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” I do believe that scale is important. Use the space you have well and try not to overwhelm your people, but, rather, play into them. Fuss over someone every week by giving a 60 second encapsulation of their faith walk. You can do it for them or you can have them do it…60 SECONDS! Use pics if you have a screen!
We know that feeling of being “in the moment” in worship and knowing the right thing to say or the way to play something for that moment. Is this something that can be taught? Or is it just an inborn thing?
I think it can be “practiced” into existence, but that requires sensitivity exercises. I like lectio divina…
In Christianity, Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Catholic practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word. It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the Living Word.
Somehow, this exercise in listening and meditating helps people be more sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit, and that’s a very, very good thing!
where do you get ideas for “moments” and do all moments have to be pre-planned or can some just be organic to the service?
There will always be “organic moments.” One time an older member of the choir sang a solo and forgot where he was in the song. He stopped, looked a little confused. The pastor walked up to him and put his arm around him and said, “God loves is when we take the opportunity to start over and get something right. He’s the ‘Do it again God’!” People were weeping when the singer finished singing How Great Thou Art.
I often get my ideas from just talking with others that do my job in other churches. They will always be more than happy to tell you about things that went right!
Describe more about finding the “bubble” in a service. Examples, please…
Bubbles are those moments where services typically slow down, like right after a special piece of music or just after a prayer. Something wonderful has already happened and, boom, something else special happens!
Look at Good Morning America some time to see how they keep moving the audience through the show without losing them. I’m not suggesting you do that in worship, but there are some very good ideas about momentum every morning from 7-9!
I have an organist who resists doing anything new and creative and sabotages the efforts with bad registration, tempos, etc. Any thoughts how to deal with this?
See if you can find a pianist to help you create some of those special moments. When the organist sees the success of those moments there is always the chance they will want to be asked to be included in the good stuff! I did this successfully many times!!
Any more examples of moments?
Well there really isn’t time to give you many examples, but my favorite one went like this…
We had an accomplished actor in the church and we turned him into an usher one weekend. He came down the aisle and handed out bulletins to those that might not have them. He was also carrying a couple of hymnals. When he got to the front of the church there was a big pulpit chair dead center. He heard something and said out loud, “What?” Then he said it again and it turned out to be the voice of God (which we couldn’t hear). He offered Him a hymnal, then realized how silly that was. He hummed and hawed, then finally invited God to sit in the big chair, fell to his knees and began singing (without accompaniment) Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord from Godspell. He sang it over and over and finally the whole congregation was singing it with him (we salted that). What a way to start!!!!!!!!!
These were great questions. Please help us continue this conversation by contributing your thoughts and expertise in the form of a comment about any of the above questions and answers, or other topics that were raised during the MasterClass.
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