This post is a part of Creative Chaos at ragamuffinsoul.com.
Recently, we created an interactive worship experience for the senior high students of our church. We had a month to dream it up, three nights to set it up, and one night to experience it. Check it out:
Overall theme: ‘God is big.. what does that mean for me?’
The evening began with a time of worship in a separate area. As we took groups of students to begin the interactive experience, those who remained continued to worship together.
Stage 1: front of our auditorium, chairs removed, dark. Students/leaders lay on cushions on floor. 3 projectors aimed at ceiling, effectively using all ceiling space: center = Louie Giglio ‘Indescribable’. Left & right = moving images of stars, etc. This talk by Louie is incredibly effective at communicating the vastness of the universe, and the greater vastness of its Creator. We used the first 19 minutes, then added a few lines of text & pics of the students. They left this room with this question in mind: If God is that big, and I am that small, what does He think of me?
Stage 2: hallway outside auditorium. Tunnel effect created by hanging fabric ceiling to floor. Three segments to tunnel:
- 1- darkness. Black. Trashed. Verses displayed stating our depravity apart from God
- 2- Jesus. Four TV’s showing ‘The Passion’, not synchronized. We didn’t anticipate the students’ response to this element because we didn’t think about the fact that most of them had never seen this film. This element of the experience was incredibly gripping for many of them.
- 3- white. clean. Verses displayed stating who we are because of what Jesus did.
Stage 3: back of auditorium. inviting space w/ couches, tables, chairs. verses displayed everywhere stating who we are because of Christ. text loop on screen includes name of every student. students are invited to write, draw, pray in response to what they’ve seen and heard. Also included the question ‘if all this is real, what should my life be about?’
Stage 4: outside front doors, covered drop-off area (altered plan because of rain). During the first all-together-worship time of the fall, students had been asked to write their biggest temptations down, and nail them to a cross. That cross had been in the sr. high room all year. At the end of this experience, they were invited to take a piece of paper off the cross, and lay it on hot coals where it would burn (original plan was a bonfire). Also were invited to think about how they could best bring glory to God this summer and write it on a glass tile. There will be a mosaic made out of those tiles.
As has been true every time we’ve done something like this, we learned a lot about how an experience can be imiproved logistically. That said, overall, this worship opportunity seemed to be effective for students who took the time to sink into it. Graduating seniors especially found it meaningful. I love helping students connect with basic truths like this. I love watching what happens for those who are usually disconnected and unaffected during corporate worship. I am always interested to notice some who ‘bounce’ through an opportunity like this, not taking time to really think about it. I am amazed at what happens every time we allow students to take time to be still, in relative silence, and ask God questions. They are not different than adults in that way… none of us are good at creating our own space and silence.
I trust the work that God began that night will continue.
Bonus: 1 minute of youth ministry brilliance.