Emerging Worship

Yesterday I attended a workshop led by Troy Bronsink and Adam Walker Cleveland called “Emerging Worship Environments. Biggest complaint/compliment – we needed more time. They had good stuff to offer and my brain was having to work pretty fast. I really wish the worship planning team for Trinity could have been there.

Here are the thoughts that intrigued me (at least I think they did, because I wrote them down) and some lingering questions:
1) Regular intentionality. Or – always be intentional in what you are doing in worship. Along with this was the idea of building rituals around the every day. Not sure exactly what this would look like at Trinity, but again, I was intrigued.
2) Liturgy (ie. worship) is the work of the people (okay, I already knew this) – the point is: worship is work. That when people worship together they are producers, not consumers.
3) Do we really practice re-formed worship or is it “pre-formed” worship? Is there a set pattern, and is that really reformed/Presbyterian worship? Or should worship be a more fluid thing? I am going to be thinking a lot about how we are connected to the roots of our tradition – and I mean the real roots of it, not the idea of tradition as “what we like from our own lives.” We need to reach back into our history and forward into our future. Okay – not all that was said in the workshop exactly, but it popped into my head.
4) There was a lot about the whole congregation participating in theology, or in the story, or in being creative. I’m all for that, but my big question is that where does that leave the proclamation of the gospel? At some level I really believe that the gospel is a message that needs to be told. Maybe we just need to tell one another, except that increasingly people simply don’t know the story. Are all ways of understanding God really equal? At what stage should someone have authority to name the common theology of the community? Also, is there any value in someone teaching? They may teach through various means, but someone needs to lead that, and we need to be aware that we are in a teaching role. This was a pretty complicated part of the workshop where we could have spent way more time.
5) Is it just plain easier to do “emerging worship” at night, because really isn’t it just about lighting some candles and stuff like that? Seriously, how many new worship experiences are at night?


2 thoughts on “Emerging Worship

  1. Great stuff, Matt. Wish I was there with ya. I appreciate your struggle about proclaiming the word/story. We have to know it, sure, and own it, to share it.

    Reflecting on this, as well as the challenges of leadership further below, I’m realzing I need to push our leaders/elders much harder on the need for regular bible study and disciplined prayer & devotions. They need to be plugged in and growing and then lead by example. So, more bible studies in the fall for sure. I need to make it available!

    • mbrough says:

      It was an awesome conference. Thanks for responding! Bible study and prayer are so important. Our elders agree at each session meeting to read through a section of the Bible before our next meeting. We also now have a lot of prayer at our meetings: opening, closing, halfway through we have a prayer for pastoral concerns and a prayer for guidance in decision making. We also light a Christ candle before our meetings. It helps us know that we are not in a “business meeting”, we are attempting to discern God’s will.

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