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Worship- A Slice of Heaven

posted Dec 16, 2012, 5:58 PM by Uumc Topeka   [ updated Dec 26, 2012, 3:23 PM ]
Coming to worship should make us feel like we are entering the heavenly realm! In fact, everything we do in church, as church, and through the church should be to the glory of God!

On November 10th, 24 of us met to hold a Vision Meeting.  We looked at six practices of fruit-bearing churches: Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Spiritual Formation and Education, Extravagant Generosity, and Excellent Leadership.  We broke into small groups and talked about how each area might be enriched.  The area that we spent the most time on was PASSIONATE WORSHIP.  We worked from material that I developed from the newest UMC Guidelines on Worship: SLICE.  The acronym SLICE is presented below.I invite you to read it, think about it, talk about it, pray about, live it!  We are entering the Advent season - what a holy time to think about worship as a SLICE OF HEAVEN!

SACRAMENTAL - The sacraments are at the core of our way of being church. It matters that we celebrate them, how well we celebrate them, how our lives are transformed by God's grace because we celebrate them.
What is your experience of offering and receiving Communion? How might we experience the sacraments more fully? (think of the ritual, the implements, the elements, the frequency...)

LITURGICAL - Liturgy means "the work of the people." Our liturgy is celebrated through the flow of the worship service as it moves through the flow of the liturgical calendar.  How are people engaged, disengaged?

INDIGENOUS - "What do we have in the house?" It is time to end the worship wars. As passionate as the advocates of the faithfulness of 'traditional' worship and the relevance of 'contemporary' worship may be, each is wrong to focus on the to the exclusion of the other.  Worship should be both faithful and relevant and emerge from the all the gifts of all the people gathering to glorify God. Worship is not about us - it is about God.  It is about all of us giving our best to God. What opportunities are there for all the people to offer all their gifts for worship to God?  Name the gifts of the people - young, old, children, 'disabled'.  What might a person visiting our worship services conclude about who we are as a community? About who we believe God to be?

CONNECTED - Vital worship makes us one with God, one with each other, one with God's creation, one in ministry to all the world.
How does our worship and our worship space reflect the importance of connections? How does it hinder connection?

EMBODIED - Vital worship involves our whole selves; mind, spirit, heart, and body.  Early Methodists were known for singing, shouting, and something other Protestants in the U.S. regularly practiced in worship- kneeling in prayer in public worship.
How do our services encourage embodied worship?
Worship follows the rhythms of gathering, proclaiming, responding, and sending forth.  How are these rhythms manifested in our services?

Adapted from UMC Guidelines

Pastor January Kiefer