Monday, February 19, 2007

digestion with choice

di•ges•tion n.
1. The process by which food is converted into substances that can be absorbed and assimilated by the body. It is accomplished in the alimentary canal by the mechanical and enzymatic breakdown of food.
2. Assimilation of ideas or information; understanding.
3. The name of our Sunday evening church service, where we try to “digest/assimilate” following Jesus today.

On Sunday we made a number of changes; and offered Digestion with choice. It involved tightening up what we consider the core tasks of worship; making them shorter and sharper; and then offering options, allowing people to choose the most helpful form of “digestion” for them. In other words…

We start, all together, for about 40 minutes to …
GATHER as a people of God
GIVE in offerings and prayer for the world
HEAR the HOT TEXT of someone’s favourite Bible verse and how it fits into God’s big story
LISTEN to a Scriptural passage – short – sharp – ending with 2 questions (for talkback – see below).
CONNECT through notices

People were then offered a choice: over about 40 minutes they could choose. So on Sunday we offered 3 choices:
TALKBACK; to discuss the Biblical text with preacher, on the sofas in the foyer; a chance to address either of the 2 discussion questions, or any other, in a relaxed setting. Requires no preparation from the preacher (other than usual exegesis), just a willingness to dialogue and some ability to keep a discussion on track. The image is that of radio talkback.
WORSHIP in song: in the auditorium
REFLECTIVE SPACE: for this Sunday the reflective space involved a computer; with continous looping visuals and a 6 minute meditation (words and ambient track). The use of headphones allowed a person to be alone with God.

(Other options we have brainstormed as possible CHOICES for other evenings include communion, serving practically in the community, creative response, labyrinth).

Finishing with supper round 8:15pm. A person walks around each option; offering a benediction to those gathered, and informing them of the location for supper.

Why? After 3 years of Digestion we are recognising that it attracts children, young teens, teenagers, students, workers. So rather than force all ages into a discussion, or a creative response, or singing, why not give them some choice? It also recognises that people digest in different ways and in different rates. It also possibly invites people to be more adult about what they need to digest.

I will keep you updated on how it goes.

Posted by steve at 10:18 AM

1 Comment

  1. It worked well. Although, I wondered if we were able to move between options. I enjoyed the worship option, but was also interested to listen to others’ viewpoints in the talkback session. I feel it would have been rude of me to leave halfway through. Great idea, though!

    Comment by Anita — February 21, 2007 @ 6:01 pm

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