At Martha's prompting I've been reading Tools for Transformation by Peter Craig-Wild. It has some OK bits, but I've now found some stand-out sections. As a service and/or worship leader (your language for this my vary; I'm not saying I like these terms), I care a lot about designing services that work well. The first paragraph that really brought me up short was:
"My task as a worship leader, is to allow the inherent power of the liturgy to emerge and do its own work. I was not to be an architect or engineer of worship, but a midwife that allowed liturgy to live." (p.51)
At Greenbelt back in 2004, Mark Pierson spoke on his experiences of pastoring a church in NZ that deliberately was targeted at creative types. There was less structure, more space and silence, and much greater use of art and expression of all levels of quality. They didn't have worship leaders: they had worship curators. (The title of the talk? Freedom from the Tyranny of Worship Leaders!)From before then I'd seen the need to let there be space for God to do what He wishes to with His people, and woe betide me if I make the service too full and ordered to make that easy. However, I felt I couldn't usefully use the 'curating' term. But this idea of midwife is one I could use.More thought-provoking material in chapter 4:
"Every aspect of the service [can] have a revelatory possibility - 'Wow, God is really here!' 'Wow, my sins really are forgiven' ...""Before the Service: How can we encourage people to gather, so that their gathering enhances their sense of being the people of God and heightens their expectation of God's presence?""The Entrance: How can the entrance of the ministers give the sense of God coming among his pilgrim people?"
This needs some thought! And I have the opportunity to try and act on these, as I'm now being service midwife once a month or so. More thoughts soon, I hope ...