A recent post on worship here got some conversation going about what is worship? One comment noted the word “liturgy” literally means “work of the people.” Evangelicals are quick with criticism of the ancient mass from which the common people were excluded. But, are we doing the same thing — excluding “the people” when we offer spectator worship services with little chance of participation by those attending?
Most of our churches are set up like theaters — performers on stage, audience in rows. But, the small church especially can provide ways for worshippers to participate. We’re trying to involve more people in worship services at our church. For example, I was concerned that I did most of the talking during communion. To solve that problem, we adapted The Great Thanksgiving, which is used in Episcopal and Methodist churches (maybe others, too), during the Eucharist. The Great Thanksgiving in our church has become a reading that pastor and congregation participate in during the communion service.
We also are asking different people to read Scripture, pray, and lead our children’s sermon each Sunday. Some Sundays we do a better job of involving folks than we do on other Sundays. When we offered an early service, worshippers sitting around tables participated in creating the worship focal point — an art piece representing the theme of the day — and we had a great time in the process.
What are you doing? How do you involve worshippers, so that worship doesn’t just get done by the professionals? Leave a comment and share your ideas with others.