I’ve recently returned from this year’s National Christian Youth Convention (NCYC), it’s a national gathering of young people from the Uniting Church in Australia that’s held biannually, it moves around a bit and this year it was in NSW.
Adrian Greenwood, Drew Hanna, a number of friends & I coordinated a space that we called “Cafe-Praxis” in it we held intentional Q&A sessions with elders and leaders from the UCA, Daily Bible Study, Worship, Open Mic, Lightening Talks and a few other things…
There’s a lot to say about what we did at NCYC, but I thought I’d focus on the three worship sessions which we based around community participation, story and passion. The themes for each of the gatherings were
Much of what I used to do in alternative Worship was to create spaces that would grow over time, but would allow for individuals to enter into and participate at their own speed. For these gatherings we had about an hour to play with and I’d intentionally attempted to create a liturgy that involved community participation and engagement, rather than stations I’d create space for us to engage.
And to do that I used three story books to help engage with the themes at hand
I thought I’d take some time and put the liturgies (where I have the liturgy) online for people to access if they’d like. All in all I think they were beautiful spaces and I had a lot of fun both creating them and seeing how people engaged with them, each other & God in the space.
Worship 01 (45 minutes)
We set this space up with four “bus” spaces. Each bus was made from 5 pieces of corflute with the front, and each side of the bus painted on it.
The buses were painted using black acrylic paint and by projecting an outline of a bus so we could trace over the outline.
We used a small shed shelving system to create the frame for the corflute to be stuck to and give the structure enough integrity to be able to paint on.
On one of the busses there was a Foosball table with rubber balls and a quote from the book, these were gifts for those who participated to take with them as they left the space.
Enough coloured paint and brushes were distributed around the space for people to create and paint, we gave them a lot of time to paint.
And all of the written liturgy was ad-libbed so what is written isn’t exactly what happened… but you get the gist.
Call to Worship:
Hello, & welcome to Cafe Praxis
God is here!
God’s Spirit is with us!
This is not a youth event
This is an opportunity to worship God
This is not a performance
This is our worship
We invite each other to use the environment, the visuals, the music and the words to stimulate our thoughts and draw our hearts to wonder at the goodness of God.
You are invited to participate & join in our worship
If you are visiting to look for ideas for your local church, we invite you to put aside your own agendas and simply join in worship – we are more than happy to spend time with you after the service or during the week and to help you in whatever way we can in your situation.
But today let us come together to meet God in a way that includes everyone here as a participant.
In as much as we give in worship, so might we receive from God.
This is an act of faith.
Today’s theme will help us to focus on our passions
We invite you to bring your whole self, your thoughts, fears, suspicions, hurts, joy, faith, hopes and love …to God.
This time of worship is God’s gift to us.
Let us be God’s gift to each other.
Let’s spend the next 5 minutes saying hello to those around us we don’t know as a sign that in God’s kingdom, all are accepted, all belong.
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
Jesus went out again beside the lake; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.
And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax-collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax-collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard this, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’
Story – A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham
In this space there are a number of buses, we invite you to
a) paint a symbol of what you are passionate about on the side of the bus, perhaps you aren’t sure what you’re passionate about and want to paint something that symbolises your search for a passion
b) mould something with the playdough provided that represents your passion and place it on or inside the bus
We invite you as a community to talk with each other, get involved, participate, hear what others are passionate about and share with them your passions also. Why are you passionate about this, do you think the passion has come from God, how do you live out this passion?
Blessing of the Passions:
Together we have created symbols of our passion, of something that burns within us, this morning we have shared a piece of ourselves, our own journey, our search, our faith, our passion.
You are now invited to wander around and take in the passions of those around you, as you do we invite you to trace the symbol of the cross alongside the passions as a way of blessing each other’s passions, each other’s journey. Perhaps you.d like to dip your finger in some paint and trace a cross alongside the image…
May your passions be ignited during this gathering,
May your passions find company with the passions of those around you
May this gathering provide space where you hear the voice of God calling you to live out these passions with each other
As you leave this space we have a small gift for you, you’ll find it on the foosball table in the centre of the space.