April 8, 2008
There are church service planners now? Must be the new title of the Minister/Pastor :) I kid, I kid, but it does raise an important point that I learned in the last year. There is a world of difference between preparing a sermon/talk/playing an instrument and actually leading worship. I'm tempted try devotional silence out on our youth fellowship, but I believe there is a need for three things for any size groups of people to actually be able to worship in this way:<br>i) personal desire within each person present, coming from a personal relationship with God<br>ii) teaching/cultural - i.e. knowing the purpose is not to sit and stare at a corner until you have a cognition<br>iii) a skilled worship leader - if you don't do this sort of thing every week you need to have someone with the gift of putting everyone in the right frame of mind.<br>Personally I have not done this much in a group, but i have tried meditating privately albeit not on a regular or even frequent basis.
John, just an idea, but if you have the necessary staff and space could you designate one room a 'quiet room' for a half an hour during your youth gatherings? The other kids could be doing something more rambunctious if need be in another space.<br><br>You bring up a great point though, if you don't know what you're supposed to be doing during that time, it's wasted.
I experienced this frequently in charismatic meetings in the 70s and 80s and some Foursquare Churches today. There are probably plenty of other examples from other faith traditions. A spontaneous corporate silence usually happens after a time of Spirit-filled worship (not just a song leader repeating a chorus 37 times). And by that I mean the kind of worship where there is a very unified corporate focus on the presence of God. Often times a hush will spontaneously fall over the audience lasting for several minutes as the group basks in the felt presence of the Holy Spirit in absolute silence. Someone in the congregation, or the leader or Pastor may then feel an urging to share with the group what they believe the Lord is saying to them. He or she might say, â€œI believe the Lord is saying to us...and then a short message of comfort, encouragement or exhortation is given. Or it may be a word of knowledge such as â€œI believe there is someone here who has just lost a job and is very worried. We need to pray for youâ€. Or it may just be that another song that captures the spirit of the moment is initiated from the group. When it happens it is very refreshing and uplifting. And then the moment passes and the order of the service continues. I try to practice times of silence accompanied with a focus on His presence in my personal devotional prayer time as well. I agree with Chris, It is amazing what can happen.
I have never experienced such an extended period of silence in worship, but I did attend a church in college that had *real* silence during the confession before a corporate confession. Going back home where there was always the chatter of piano or a worship leader was disconcerting.
I attended a programmed Quaker meeting for 15 years (sandwiched between Evangelical Covenant and Presbyterian). By programmed I mean that they had an order of worship but also an extended, non-timed period of silence. Out of the silence God spoke. It is certainly a corporate discipline in addition to an individual one. It attracts a specific kind of person who is able to thrive and listen in that setting. <br><br>In my current church we have about 30 seconds after the corporate confession and I find I'm just strating to center down when we move on. I miss those times with the Friends.
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