Cre8ivity in Worship

You have many workers: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as those skilled in every kind of work in gold and silver, bronze and iron—craftsmen beyond number. Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you.           1 Chronicles 22:15-16.

First words are important. God’s first words speak about creativity. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1 (NLT).

Creativity is a vital component of whom we are and who we’re meant to be. That’s why we should be creative and innovative in our worship services, i.e. engaging all five senses and exploring what it really means to be fully human – fully alive. [Note: Creativity is never for creativities sake. We exercise our creativity for no other reason than to bring honour and glory to Christ the Creator].

With creativity in mind, here are some examples:

  1. Have an artist paint or draw during the service.
  2. Instead of preaching a sermon, do a dramatic monologue.
  3. “Tag Team” preaching. One preacher handles the theology and another handles the application or illustration. The preachers “tag” in and out through the course of the message.
  4. Prayer balloons: Give everyone in the service a balloon in which you have previously placed a slip of paper with the name of one of your children or youth. The congregation blows up the balloons and gently hit them to one another. Pop the balloons, find the piece of paper, and pray for the child/youth in the weeks or months ahead.
  5. Bake bread. Have several bread machines in the auditorium all timed to have the bread ready for communion. Bring the bread to the communion table and cut large slices. Give everyone a fresh slice of bread … Since doing this, the smell of fresh bread now reminds me of the death and resurrection of Christ.
  6. Object lessons. Incorporated into the preaching of the sermon … Pour a bucket of water over the preacher to signify the filling of the Holy Spirit, have the preacher build a bridge from one table to another to demonstrate how we need to build bridges to reach the unsaved, hand-cuff the preacher to someone to show that we are all linked together, drive in a tilling machine when talking about spiritual seed (this one wasn’t a good idea because we had the smell of gasoline lingering in the auditorium), and so on.
  7. Flags. Have coloured flags available in a bucket and invite the children and adults to use them during the singing.
  8. Roll out a large continuous sheet of paper at the front of the auditorium with buckets of crayons. While the congregational is singing invite the children to draw something they would give to Jesus. When completed, hold up for everyone to see and then tape to the wall as a worship offering.
  9. Instead of preaching a sermon from beginning to end, break it up with appropriate songs and or drama.
  10. Invite people to visit several “prayer stations” situated in or outside the building. Each station is different and has the necessary instructions and equipment in place. Examples of stations include: drawing your prayer, listening to songs that are prayers, spinning a globe and where you stop it with your finger you pray for that country, communion with candles, dramatically acting out a prayer, writing a prayer poem (a book of rhyming words is provided), creating a prayer poster.
  11. Use a professional artist’s work as the backdrop for the PowerPoint presentation of the preacher’s message.
  12. Learn the sign language for a song and “sing” it with sign language.
  13. Hand out pieces of paper and pencils. People write down their sins and fold the paper. While suitable music is playing each person comes up to a wooden cross, picks up a hammer and nail and nails their piece of paper to the cross as an act of repentance.
  14. Give people candles to light.
  15. “Word From The Street.” Record a video during the week of what people in the town think about a particular topic and view it during the service.
  16. Hang flags, banners, paintings, words, or whatever [in line with a theme] on the wall, on easels, or from the ceiling.
  17. Puppet Shows.
  18. Scan the pictures from a children’s book and make a PowerPoint presentation to go along with the dramatic reading of the story.
  19. Invite local painters, potters, jewellers, calligraphers, stained glass artisans and others to showcase their work and explain how they do it.
  20. Interpretive dance during congregational singing.
  21. Use film clips to illustrate a sermon.
  22. Utilise lights, mpg’s, jpg’s, and PowerPoint slides to create suitable environments for worship.
  23. Tell God’s Story with background music playing.
  24. Invite people to close their eyes and use their sanctified imagination, e.g. What do you think it was like at the Wedding at Cana? What do you see the people wearing? What do you smell? What does the food taste like? etc.
  25. Provide sermon outlines with blank spaces to fill in key words.
  26. Invite people to share a short testimony, prophecy, Scripture reading, or prayer, i.e. find ways to make the service more interactive and participatory.
  27. Do actions along with the singing of a song.
  28. Responsive readings.
  29. Have the children draw their art, scan it, then show it at an appropriate time.
  30. If you have chairs that can be moved, then have the congregation turn their chairs around during the service to face the other way. This was effectively done to illustrate repentance as a 180 degree turning in the opposite direction. It could also be used to illustrate change or getting out of our comfort zone.
  31. Have people bring spoons to the service. To a suitable country gospel song have them click the spoons in unison.
  32. Hand out something at the close of the service that will serve as an enduring reminder of the sermon, e.g. when preaching on the Church in Pergamum I gave everyone a white stone.
  33. Have people hold hands, lay on hands, or extend their hands out to the one being prayed for.
  34. Take photographs of people in various midweek programmes, make up a PowerPoint slide show with music and play it during the service. In particular, baptismal slideshows are well received.
  35. Use PowerPoint slides for announcements instead of verbal announcements. If possible, use multiple screens.
  36. Share a meal together, e.g. instead of a more formal Sunday morning service plan a “Friendship Breakfast” and set up the auditorium with tables and chairs.
  37. Use images. Because we live in an image driven culture we should use images to drive a theme, to impact a spiritual truth, to build identity in a program.
  38. Do a Jericho march.
  39. Hand around a book or books during the service in which people can write their prayer requests. At the conclusion of the service have a few people read the prayer requests.
  40. Go “unplugged.” There are times when we should choose to not use any technology, or very little technology. No amplification for musical instruments, no PowerPoint, and no Easy Worship. It can be refreshing to worship with nothing more than a guitar, hand drum, and the songs printed on a piece of paper.
  41. Move the service outdoors. Purposefully hold a baptismal service at the lake, have some evening services around a campfire, and so on.
  42. Don’t preach a sermon. Consider meetings that are strictly prayer, testimony, singing, story-telling, communion, or healing services.
  43. Following the service, play a game of football, volleyball, or whatever. Find ways to emphasise the continuity of worship in all facets of life. Worship is far more than a Sunday thing – it’s a twenty four seven thing. It’s something we do in church, on the sports field, at home, and at work.
  44. Have a poet read some of his/her poetry.
  45. Have a story teller tell a story. Specifically, utilise good storytellers to tell God’s Story. My sister-in-law is nicknamed the “Hat Lady” because she tells stories in which she changes characters by changing the hats she wears.
  46. Humour. Share a joke. Laughter is good medicine and a necessary part of worship.
  47. Multiple preachers. Have several people speak briefly on the same subject or theme. For example, invite seniors to lead a service around the theme “What we’ve learnt through life.” The mini-messages can be interspersed with hymns.
  48. Use live animals. On one occasion I brought a donkey into the auditorium on Palm Sunday with a purple cloth draped over his back.
  49. Shadow art. Lights behind a sheet showing the shadows of the actors.
  50. Signs. Congregation hold up signs as part of the message, singing, or drama.
  51. Have a time of silence.
  52. Illusion. There is artistry in sleight of hand. Invite a Christian illusionist to preach the Gospel (On one occasion when I did this the illusionists dove flew into the rafters and it took a day to catch it!).
  53. Use simple scientific experiments to illustrate spiritual principles. For example, using bleach to “wash” away red dye is a powerful way to visually illustrate how Christ washes away our sins.
  54. Write and sing Christian lyrics to secular tunes.
  55. Serve and celebrate communion in different ways. For example, serve the elements together or sometimes serve them separately, serve one another in small groups or sometimes be served by the ushers, sometimes sing or sometimes read Scripture, sometimes serve leavened bread or sometimes serve unleavened bread, and maybe serve both grape juice and wine so that people can take according to their conscience.
  56. Play a game.
  57. Do a quiz.
  58. Intersperse the verses of a hymn with the chorus of a contemporary song or the verses of a contemporary song with the chorus of a hymn, e.g. Michael W. Smith’s – Oh the Wonderful Cross with When I Survey the Wonderful Cross.
  59. Read the Scriptures in unison.
  60. Popcorn prayers. Many people praying short quick extemporary prayers, one after another, that give thanks or praise to God.

 

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