I recently had the honor to share some thoughts about providing imaginative encounters with God at Youth Cartel’s Open Boston. (More thoughts on that great experience in later posts) Since my slides were more of a guide for me to stay on track giving my presentation, I am fleshing out the sections of my presentation in a series of blog posts on the topic! Here’s what I hope to explore in this series:
~Myths about creativity in learning & worship
~ Scriptural examples of multi-sensory teaching and worship
~Great resources to help with the WHY we should engage the senses beyond just written and spoken word
~Some important Do’s and Don’t’s to consider as we engage our students and congregations
~A forum of great ideas that have been shared and experienced in a variety of settings over the years (most recently at the Open Boston Seminar I led)
My mission to empower ministry leaders to take steps in towards engaging their faith communities with imaginative learning and worship has its roots in my childhood. I was blessed to be brought up in the liturgical traditions of the Episcopal church, where I truly think all the sitting, standing, kneeling etc. was exactly the type of environment which allowed me to engage with what was going on in church in meaningful ways from a young age. We didn’t do all the singing all at once, and then have to sit and listen to one person talk up front for the rest of the service. We sang, we prayed with congregational responses, we heard scripture (again with more congregational responses). We stood, we sat, we knelt. The Gospel text was read from the middle of the center aisle. I was known as a little one to even start dancing in the aisle during hymns- and people let me! At the church I attended in middle and high school, the prayers were led from the center of the sanctuary, not from the front. We also had the occasional use of incense – truly helping all of our senses to be engaged in our worship experiences. The place I grew up learning about God the most was at a Christian summer camp where staff and campers alike spent time learning about God through creation, through community, and utilizing all the of the creative means we had access to being at a great camp facility! As I’ve grown, I have been extremely blessed to discover myself in different communities filled with people who have wonderful imaginations that help them discover ways for others to experience all that God has for us in the five senses we’ve been blessed with in addition to the written and spoken word. The list of amazing mentors who have helped shape my understanding on this topic goes on for days. I can’t take too much credit for all of this, but to praise God for allowing me to find the right ministry and educational partners for the right seasons of my life!
When our whole beings are able to sense the wonders of our glorious Creator- how much more heartfelt would our worship be?
When we are able to experience the love of Christ with fresh perspectives that go beyond words-
how much deeper could our walk with Jesus become?
Join me in this great conversation!