Supplies: Camper Book, Bible, Pens, Instructions for low-elements on the Bridgeport ropes course, a United Methodist Hymnal
“Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting….Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre.” Psalm 147:1 & 7
Open with Prayer
As the opening prayer….sing a praise song or two that everyone knows. Sing to God not to each other. Sing until the Holy Spirit’s presence is felt by the group.
Flip the Light Switch
“….when I came into the silent assemblies of God’s people, I felt a secret power among them, which touched my heart. And as I gave way to it, I found the evil in me weakening, and the good lifted up.” Robert Barclay
“To worship is to experience Reality, to touch Life….we have not worshipped the Lord until Spirit touches spirit.” Richard Foster
“My whole heart I lay upon the alter of thy praise, an whole burnt-offering of praise I offer to thee….Let the flame of thy love….set on fire my whole heart, let nought in me be left to myself, nought wherein I may look to myself, but may I wholly burn towards thee, wholly be on fire toward thee, wholly love thee, as though set on fire by thee.” Saint Augustine
“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”
“In worship we engage ourselves with, dwell upon, and express the greatness, beauty, and goodness of God through thought and the use of words, rituals, and symbols. We do this alone as well as in union with God’s people. To worship is to see God as worthy, to ascribe great worth to him.” Dallas Willard
“If you will not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week.” A.W. Tozer
The Main Idea is that one way we let out the “burning fire in our bones” (see Jeremiah 20:9, the week’s Theme Verse) is through worship. We speak of God, we speak to God, and God speaks to us.
Pick a leader.
The leader will say “God is good!”
Then just 1 group member should respond with “All the time!”
Do it again but this time have 2 group members respond, then 3, then 4, on so on until the whole group is responding to the leader. Once all the group members have joined in, repeat the call and response about 10 times.
- What was different between the first response with 1 person and the response with all the group members?
- What was the difference between the first response of ALL the group members and response number 10?
- What conclusion can you draw as a group that might relate to worship?
“Hey! What’s that?”
Worship is something we actually DO. It is not a passive experience. It is something WE actively participate in. Worship is not like going to a concert with a lecture in the middle. It is a time where we actively give thanks to God for WHO God is, for What God has done, for What God is doing in our lives. We also expect God to show up and actively participate. We listen for God, in music, in liturgy, in song, in Scripture, in the sermon.
Ever hear anybody say “I didn’t get anything out of worship!”??? John Wesley insisted that how we experience worship depends greatly on how we approach worship. What makes worship meaningful is whether we come with expectant faith, openness to the presence and power of God.
Wondering how to grow in your worship experiences? Richard Foster offers the following 7 Steps Into Worship:
- Learn to practice the presence of God daily. Find multiple times to pray, listen, remember Scripture verses, confess, etc. You will find that these times will help you intensify your worship experience.
- Have many different experiences of worship each week. Worship God alone, at the end of bible study with friends, around the dinner table with family. You will find that this help empower and impact Sunday morning worship.
- Find ways to really prepare for the gathered experience of worship. Go to bed early the night before, pray, confess, and examine your heart with God. Go over the Hymns and Scripture to be used in worship. You will find more meaning in worship as each of these components is used and your mind will be clearer.
- Have a willingness to be gathered in the power of the Lord. Let go of your agenda, worries, and distractions. The language of worship is “We” not “I” so give up your wants for the needs of the group. Submit to the ways of God. Submit to one another in Christian fellowship. Desire for God to rise up in the life of the group.
- Cultivate holy dependency. Be utterly and completely dependent on God for anything significant to happen.
- Absorb distractions with gratitude. Let go of noise or problems in the service. If someone chatters, let go. If a child cries, let go. If the microphone makes weird sounds, let go. Be willing to relax when the distractions come. They will come!
- Learn to offer a sacrifice of worship. If you don’t “feel” like worshiping, worship anyway. Maybe what you most need is to worship. No matter how down you are, worship anyway. One log by itself cannot burn for very long, but when many logs are put together, even if they are very poor logs, they can still make a huge fire!
In your journal, write of one of the most meaningful times of worship you have had in your life. If you can not think of a meaningful time….write a description of what you would want to experience in a meaningful time of worship then write a short prayer asking God to help you experience meaningful worship soon.
Pick one of the low-elements challenges on the Bridgeport Ropes course. (See Alan Hamilton for a list.) Pick one that requires that the entire Family Group be involved in order to succeed.
- How was this activity like worshipping together?
- Did it really take everybody to succeed at the challenge?
- What is worship like if everybody doesn’t participate?
We can enhance our participation in worship as we understand how it is structured. The basic pattern for worship in the United Methodist Church as found in the Hymnal is:
- Proclamation and Response
- Thanksgiving and Communion
- Sending Forth
Many churches follow this pattern yet have very different types of services of worship. Most services include: Scripture, sermon, prayer, hymns or songs, doxologies, affirmations of faith, invitations to discipleship.
q Discuss how these elements differ in your Church.
q Which of the four parts is MOST meaningful to you personally?
q Can anyone imagine a worship service that does not include at least worship and prayer?
q What if music is missing?
q Why is worship important or unimportant to you?
q What can you offer to your worship service when you return home?
Extra Bible Stuff
Scripture is filled with references to the praise and adoration that God’s people are to enjoy. Reflect on the following passages prayerfully.
v Exodus 20:1-17 records the giving of God’s Law to Israel: the Decalogue, or the Ten Commandments. See especially verses 2-6 for the primacy of worship.
v Deuteronomy 4:32-39, part of Moses’ great parting speech to the Israelites, calls God’s people to reflect on who God is and the miraculous nature of God’s deed.
v 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 and Psalm 100 are two of many recorded psalms of worship and praise.
v In John 4:24, Jesus describes the kind of worship that God desires us to offer.
v Colossians 3:11-17 provides instructions for the common life to which we are called; including the kinds of worship we are encouraged to offer God in the gathered fellowship.
v Revelation prophetically pictures the ultimate and eternal worship for which we were created. See especially 4:1-5:14, 19:6-9, and 21:1-4.
Close with a circle prayer with each person filling in the blank: “Thank you God for other people because____________________.”
Bonus Brainstorm Ideas
How I can spend more time worshipping God:
What I can offer my Church in worship: