"Worship is a response to God."
At Our Place, our gatherings culminate each week in what we call "Responding Time". It is a time of personal and corporate worship, where people are encouraged to listen to God's voice and Respond to Him.
Responding Time usually lasts 20 minutes, and during that time there are a variety of ways that people can choose to respond. We have a prayer station near the front that has a large wooden cross surrounded by rugs, pillows, communion elements, Bibles, annointing oil... It is a place for people to come and pray, and to be prayed for.
There are also four communion stations located at the four corners of the room, where people can go and receive communion as they feel led.
There are also two additional worship stations, one for art and one for writing. At one, there are papers, canvases, easels and tables, with paints and pastels and clay, where people can worship God through artistic expression. At the other, there are notebooks, journals, and large hanging papers, with pens, pencils, and markers, where people can write their responses to God, be they prayer requests, praises, poems, freeform, stream of conciousness.
We also have a baptistery where people can come and be baptized if they feel led. We encourage people to make decisions for Christ during Responding Time, and to come and be baptized as part of that. Many of our gatherings each month have ended with a new baptism. It has been powerful to give people the freedom to act on God's voice as He leads them!
All the while, our worship bands create an environment of musical worship, where people are encouraged to sing, to listen, to watch, to kneel, to stand... To worship however they are led. At Our Place it is ok to just listen, or to just watch. As a worshiper, I do very little to lead or manipulate the response of the crowd. I don't want to lead, I want the Spirit to lead.
There are times where I feel it is appropriate to lead more actively, to ask them to sing, ask them to stand. But on the whole, I am less of a leader and more of a facilitator. The music is really only one part of "Responding Time". There is so much more that can happen, so many other creative ways for people to respond to God. I don't want to close doors on that by saying "everybody stand and sing".
I feel like our Responding Time is one of the ways that our church strives to embrace a more emergent theology of worship. We have moved away from the typical songleader approach to worship and have attempted to be more comprehensive. I think music still plays a huge role in our gatherings. But it is not the only role.
Minister of Music & Administration
Our Place Christian Church
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