Monday, September 26, 2005

'Alt Worship' at Franga

Heaps of exciting stuff going on at Franga (my abbreviation for Frankston Church of Christ for the uninitiated) at the moment. One of which is something which I guess you would call an 'alternative worship' night at our evening congregation.

On most Sunday nights we have the ol Sermons-Singing-Sitting in Rows kinda gathering, so this was pretty different for us.

It was set up in our chapel, which is a relatively small circular room, which we don't normally use for our worship gatherings. We turned off all the lights, lit a fair few candles all over the place and had a bit of ambient music going in the background. All pretty standard for this type of affair.

Then we had a few stations set up around the room. One was a wall where you could write down some prayers and stick them on the wall, another was a reading space where you could-surprise surprise-read some stuff, another where you could light a candle as a way of praying for a person or situation.

In the middle we had a table where you could draw or create some reflections based on the service or where God's at in your life etc, another where we just had some projected images scrolling through on the PowerPoint you could reflect on. We had a section where you could just sit and listen to various parts of the Bible being read out.

Communion was a little more elongated, being spead over three different spaces. First there was a table with a few verses about communion, and some small slips of paper where we were asked to write down a sin or something which was holding us back from God. We then went out into the hallway and nailed it to a cross, symbolising that we were giving it over to God, that we didn't want to hold onto it anymore. We then progressed to another room where we tok the bread and the wine. Quite a powerful experience.

A few people found it a little weird, which was to be expected, but I think it generally got some pretty positive feedback. This kinda thing is probably not for everbody, but then neither is the 'three Ss'.

I absolutely loved it though, I am beginning to discover that the more contemplative approaches to spirituality are much more my thing, which is kinda strange for me as a pretty active ocker kinda bloke. Most people when they think this kinda stuff think women dancing around, or looking endlessly upon flowers and all wearing purple, which was definitely not what this was!

The site I linked to before has plenty of resources to explain this kinda thing much better than I have, as does Worship Tricks, part of a guy called Jonny Bakers blog. Should have taken some photos, but not to worry.

Definitely something I'd like to keep exploring in the future, whether that be with our night congregation or the Huddle crew.


Anonymous said...

Nice, while ago my church evening service tryed having communion where you took the bread and wine while kneeling infront of the cross- very moving yet simple.

btw whats the 3 S's and the huddle crew?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great way to mix it up. I really don't like it when going to church becomes just a routine thing, it's then I tend to loose focus on the real reason i'm there in the first place because i'm just so used to the same thing happening.

Anonymous said...


How well would this sort of thing go down at "Footy Church"?

The reason I ask is that it seems to me that many that really contect with god through this medatative type of worship have taken the journey through the songs and hype styles (I mean that in a nice way) before arriving at the place of reflection.

Perhaps this is only a style that those with a deepening level of faith can enter into properly? Not really sure, but when I've seen 'new' people come to something like this they always seem to be freaked out by it...!

Digger said...

The 3 Ss are songs, sermons and sitting in rows.

The Huddle crew are they guys who I'm planting a new church with. Come to think of it, i don't actually think i've blogged about the name before-should get onto that!

Digger said...

Yeah thats something I've been wondering myself Matt. Unfortunately the Huddle guys weren't able to make it Sunday night, but it is something I'd like to discuss with them this week-whether or not this kinda thing would suit our mission.

I love it, but as i need to keep reminding myself-it isn't all about me!

And I think you're partly right, that a lot of the people who are into this kinda stuff are the ones who've been through the music and hype scene and are over it.

But at the same time, these kinda meditation and reflective type events are pretty popular on the New Age scene, but I guess it just depends on whether or not that's the scene we're trying to connect with.

There were a couple of people-newbies, who were a little freaked out by it Sunday night, but hopefully not too bad.

Anonymous said...

digs, i loved it!! i was so humbled by people's honesty. At a SSS service, you dont really hear ppl's stories/what's goin on for them/what's on their heart, but, for eg. on the prayer wall, or when ppl drew pics, you knew it was comin from the heart and people were so honest!
There was a real 'vibe' in there...i walked out, breathed deeply several times and slowly entered into conversation. And i reckon it's the type of thing that i'd bring a friend to more easily? maybe not, we'll see. Matts comments got me thinking, very interesting. I guess you do have to be pretty comfortable with soul-searching, dead-honesty with God, reflective type stuff to get into it, and i've realised that some people aren't at that stage.
Such a quality night tho!!! a total blessing. and a challenge for those who weren't feeling 100% comfortable with dad says, God likes to challenge the comfortable!

Anonymous said...

yeah, need to be careful not to assume 'the huddle' wouldn't get into alt worship styles- although alt may not be the best label for them as they don't have the normal styles to compare to.
Also need to be careful that just cos people might not get involved they may still be getting heaps out of it- while still no feeling comfortable enough to get actually participate.
For 'new age' stuff should check out 'Living Now: informing, nurturing, inspiring' mag thing- for all things health, life, sex and spiritual! free in many diff places!

Anonymous said...

yea i really loved tha way church was that nite aswell. it was really different, and everyone got to do things in their own time rather than sorta all at once if that makes sense.
it gave everyone time for thinking and time for praying about what they wanted.

i found it to sorta help me out with a few things but at the same time it did challenge me, which i thort was good, and got me to relise stuff and also have time to think. my favorite thing there was the candles. it was sooo gr8