Missional worship…

Ok – so on this stream I started to think about how mission can shape the way in which we engage our young people in worshipping God. I think this is where so often we could fall into the consumer trap of simply thinking about picking the right style of worship that will attract the most kids in through the door. The reality is that there are as many youth sub-cultures as days in the year (if not more) and that going with one particular style of music will only serve to alienate anyone who doesn’t ‘get it’. Perhaps, instead, we need to think more about what worship is all about, and about helping our young people to ‘get that’.

So those of us who do follow Christ should know by now that worship isn’t about us…it’s all about God. About coming into his presence and being ‘lost in wonder, love and praise’. We, humble, broken humanity, get to stand before the most incredible thing that our brains can even begin to comprehend and somehow emerge different. There’s much about this that is simply mystical (and by that I mean just totally beyond human understanding), but it helps us to place worship in the right place. We learn something of who God is and what we believe in. It’s transformational simply because no-one enters the presence of God and emerges unchanged. If we’re simply looking to entertain our young people, to get them to like us because we like ‘cool’ music, then we’re so far off track.

Secondly, worship is costly, it’s sacrificial. It’s about coming before God and saying – look, this is me, this is all I am and I give it to you. We choose to put God first and ourselves last. We choose to say that we’re not the most important thing in the world. We can come from all sorts of different places and stand together with no other agenda than simply worshipping God. So we can surely forgive each other if we would rather listen to different styles of music!

Thirdly, we say that anyone can get involved in being part of it – no matter how long or how short your journey might be, God simply wants you to be in his presence. A key value of quality youth work is the participation of young people in the preperation for and leadership of whatever activity you’re engaging in. Again, we break down the consumerist attitude by saying, “ok, now it’s your turn”…

So perhaps a walk with our youth into missional worship is to help them understand who worship is for, and then to understand that it’s about giving, not simply receiving, but that somehow, through worship we do receive transformation. So that when they invite their friends to worship gatherings they’re not embarrassed by musical style, they can simply say “this is where we meet the creator of the universe and something incredible happens”. It’s a place where they can shape things, can be shaped…

Lost in wonder, love and praise…

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