Sunday, December 28, 2014

Lists 2014

Creative Worship Ideas
As requested by Peter Oliver [and for my friends of relevant persuasion]
   My first reticence is everything is contextual so a list of ideas won't easily translate to another place. That said, some ideas can prompt your creativity where you are, so here goes... and these all connect to 2014 in some way though they may not have only been from this year!!

1. My first idea is an ethos that participation in planning and leadership creates 'ownership' and/or connections, so whatever you do, think about how to get the maximum desirable number of people involved in curating an experience
2. Tactile group work projects suit some groups better than 'stations' or options for free participation. e.g. I borrowed the idea of reading "A Bus Called Heaven" by Bob Graham either in 3-4 parts or right through and I built softwood timber frames to screw/tape together and traced four sides of a bus onto correlate [real estate or political signs, also brand new from Bunnings, use both sides, clean with hairspray]. Participants [in these cases kids] could colour in the bus to represent their idea of what a bus called heaven would look like. The story sees the old bus become a space and catalyst to 'community building.' The corflute characters are made by using a data projector to show the image on the wall/corflute and then a black paint text or ratline to draw over the outline on the corflute.
3. I'm rediscovering the value of 'props' or things in a story to hand out or make a central focus for those able to gather at tables or on the floor at the front e.g. types of plants for weeds vs seeds, cloth, collections of photos, a mystery present or box, a pair of shoes
4. Easy to make Film Clips
Windows Movie Maker or iMovie come with your laptop/computer and one simple thing to do is to load up a collection of photos with simple transitions between them and then add  a soundtrack song to create a reflection/prayer/space in worship.
For copyright conscious folks there are free image sites aplenty on the internet, including the flickr photo site search engine called Set comp to a=only show 'creative commons' images according to your word search and all images offered would be permissible
5. "Holy Moly"
This curriculum of clips are simple clipart animations with minimal words where the meaning is made by encountering the basic story following a Biblical framework for the main stories and seasons. Kids get it!! They have other age group materials as well but Holy Moly works with all ages used well... no introductions needed
6. Tableau Photos of a Story
Use contemporary costume ideas and work with the group to storyboard a series of 6-8 photos that tell the story your focusing on... take those photos and use them onscreen... this can be done as group prior to the worship or during it for both taking and showing the images... you can also engage a congregation by switching to a video camera to show the project unfolding on the screen as the group set up and take the photos
7. Chalking
Inviting people to write their prayers, questions, responses, hopes etc etc on a footpath with stick chalk or on the windows with liquid chalk pens creates instant visuals and the best thing is water [and perhaps a cloth on the windows] is all that's needed to clean up
8. Vox Pop Videos
This is the simplest way to make a video with a key question/prayer theme or idea... use boc cardboard sheets and A4 paper to tape on plus a thick black text... invite people to write an answer on the card in big letters and video each one holding the card face down and raising it to show you the response. Add those clips to a movie project, mute them all and add a soundtrack to the full clip... speed it up or slow it as needed before adding the song... end result looks great... At an event there is time to quickly video then 20+ mins later to show the clip... or the following week if needed.
9. Make your own photo set for discussion on a  theme, prayers for the world and use the sets in groups
10. Meals.... you simply cannot beat the radical hospitality of spending time together over a shared meal [whether or not you reach into the middle of the table and draw attention to bread and juice to share a formal 'Lords Supper' or just allow elements of worship to unfold at appropriate times during the meal
11. Playing with the idea "where you stand determines what you see" quoted from Robert Mcafee Brown... around the theme of 'stand' or standing... next to sculptures, images, looped videos, an audio-visual, stations etc... just design different ways to explore perspective... including on the Scripture for that occasion...
12. Use a world globe [Australian Geographic shop] either fold out, 1m inflatable or a spinning desktop one and invite people to write prayers on the appropriate spot/s... e.g. multiple fold outs on tables for groups or one station among many or one globe at a station or one inflatable to toss around
13. Create a group candle
Use a pipe or soft drink bottle, a good wick taped in and then small conglomerate chunks of coloured candle wax... use plain wax to melt and let it cool enough to pour in and partially melt the chunks enough to bind into one candle but not too hot or the candle will be gray or brown rather than rainbow... use the candle for the year!!
14. Lectio Divina in a Discussion Group or series of groups
I should have added to my opening remarks that 'creative ideas' won't work as gimmicks... this is about finding creative ways to help people grapple with the always central task of seeking to be an informed/inspired follower with a growing faith by keeping the main thing the main thing... it's all about engaging with Scripture 'in creative ways' and expressing your response 'creatively.
e.g. A simple lectio form would involve one reading aloud of the Scripture... then ask what word/phrase/image strikes you.... wait, read again... imagine Jesus is speaking to you... what do you hear... then third reading and asking what you are being asked to differently as a result...
15. Shoes
I love inviting groups to bring/remove their shoes and write an A4 page big writing story about them as told through the experiences of their shoes... set them out in the space to be able to walk around and read... if you have to, sing and pray at the start, play acoustic/instrumental music for ten mins writing time then give plenty of time for people to encounter the stories... invite reflections/prayer for people and the world in groups of 6-8 or maybe  one big group of 12 in the right congregation [if you have 60 people, break into groups]!! Wrap up at the end and then eat/drink together!!

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