NEXT U: Worship in the NEXT Church

The communion table at NEXT 2014 gathering

The communion table at NEXT 2014 gathering

Welcome to NEXT University! During the month of August, we are highlighting our most popular posts and videos on the NEXT blog from the past few years, with suggestions for how to use this content with church sessions, committees, staff and other leaders. 

Today we highlight a few articles that address worship. You may wish to discuss these posts separately or combine them into one larger study.

Changing Worship Space is a dispatch from our Paracletos coaching project and describes one congregation’s process of worshiping in a new space… which led to new ways of worshiping once they moved back into the sanctuary.

  • Many congregations worship in an alternate space only out of necessity, e.g. when a sanctuary is being renovated. How about experiencing some “creative displacement” just to see what emerges? Could you worship in a fellowship hall? Outside?
  • What about your worship space or liturgy feels essential? What elements could be set aside for a season or longer?

Why We Welcome Little Children to Worship by Kara Root provides background on why it’s important to have children in worship and provides suggestions for adults with children, and adults without children, to help the worship hour be a hospitable place.

  • Take a look at the suggestions provided. In which areas is your congregation strong? Which need more work?
  • Choose 1-2 areas of growth and make a commitment to focus on those areas. What are concrete steps you might take to help worship be a hospitable place for all?

Worship: Style vs. Substance by Jeff Krehbiel describes how one congregation transformed its worship life, and argues for moving beyond the old “worship wars” idea of traditional v. contemporary styles. Instead, worship should be transformational for those gathered.

  • Do an evaluation/audit of a recent worship service. How is it experiential? Participatory? Image-driven? Connectional? Choose one of these elements (borrowed from the work of Leonard Sweet) and see how you might develop that attribute in your worship.

Bonus Link: Rodger Nishioka’s article Children’s Church is the Church inspired a great deal of discussion. Check it out!

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