This whole activity could be done outdoors and you can allow creation to speak for itself. But of you are to be indoors take advantage of that situation to provide an even wider experience of creation.
a) Have people sit on the floor. If they are uncomfortable with that have them sit on chairs with an aisle in the middle.
b.) Have animal sounds recorded (either from a sounds effect tape, or bird sounds from the Ontario Science Centre, or your own back yard).
c.) You can decorate the walls with clippings from National Geographic, maps, animal pictures, models or whatever would help people focus on the splendor of creation.
d.) Instruct the people to sit in silence for the first three minutes.
e.) Have one of the members read a creation psalm to end the silence.
f.) Lead a number of songs that exalt God as the creator: “I Can’t wait to Get to Heaven”, “Fairest Lord Jesus”, “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” and others from the first sections of many hymn books. (You may also choose to read out one of the hymns in unison.)
g.) Arrange a slide presentation of breathtaking scenes of natural beauty. You cam have an instrumental solo or play an instrumental praise tape (It might be useful to get the whole set of “Praise 1-8″?). If you can’t get slides you may be able to get a film from the public library free of charge. You can turn the sound off to help the people concentrate on the Lord. (You may also want to take up the offering at this point)
h.) Expression of Praise. Lead a few choruses then lead the people into vocally expressing their wonder and awe in God’s creation. Coach the people in how to offer up original praises that come from the heart, and not just standard praise words” — hallelujah etc.
i.) Ask for two or three people to lead out in prayer for the needs of the church, individuals and the world.
Have everyone hold one nail in their right hand, one nail in their left hand, and keep one nail between their feet. Then have them lean against a wall in the crucifixion position with two arms stretched out. Play worship songs about the love, pain, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. Have the lyrics on the screen so that the youths can sing along. This way they will have a better understanding of the physical pain of Jesus while he was crucified. Have them put their arms up as long as they can, and put them down when they’re tired, but put them up again as soon as possible. Their arms should be getting sore and throbbing. They will probably put their arms down to rest more and more often. Emphasize how much more Jesus was hurting with the skin on his back ripped open, the thorns on his head piercing his skull, injuries and bruises all over his body, and the nails actually nailed through the bones and veins of his wrists and ankles.
Why don’t you allow other people to lead this one! Guide the group in a Bible study on the majesty of God. Assign the group Bible passages to read, such as Ps. 8, Eccl 5:1- 13 or a number of others that show that our God is a “consuming fire.” Give each of the members of the team a copy of these suggestions, but allow them to also modify them after they have read all the assigned Bible passages.
Here is the outline for the worship experience that they will lead:
a) Instruct people that they should be silent as they enter the worship area.
b) When everyone has arrived and is seated, have one member of the worship team read sections from Ecc. 5:1-7. “Stand in Awe of God” could be a banner that could be in the front of the area, or on an overhead as they enter the room.
c) Another member of the group can say something like, “We have been given an awesome opportunity because of the blood of Jesus. We are allowed to enter into the throne room of God. In ancient times if you entered the throne room and the king did not want to see you it was punishable by Death!” Hebrews chapter ten says “Let us come boldly before the throne of grace.” Let us go into the throne room of God. In ancient times if you entered the throne room and the king did not want to see you it was punishable by death!” Hebrews chapter ten says “Let us come boldly before the throne of grace.” Let us do that today, in humility, and in the knowledge that this is only possible because of the blood of Jesus. Let us enter his presence by the blood of Jesus, by allowing him to cleanse us by his blood – Let’s sing (Lord I’m Sorry, Create in Me a Clean Heart, My Eyes are Dry or any other songs of confession and commitment.)
d) Another member of the group can go on from there saying, “Now that we have been purified in Christ’s blood, as it says in I John 1:9 we can “Enter his gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and enter his courts with praise! Lets stand and do just that! (Sing I Will Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving in My Heart … and about six or seven lively worship choruses.)
e) Another member of the team can then read the account of Isaiah’s vision of God in the temple. Is. 6. Then they can say “I want you to close our eyes and envision the presence of the Lord in this place. He inhabits the praises of his people. It is not so much that we enter his presence for the Lord is everywhere. When our hearts are in the right state then are we able to finally experience Him in His fullness. Let’s continue to prepare our hearts for an encounter with God. As you close your eyes I want you to consider, meditate upon his holiness and majesty in this place right now. (Sing: He Is Lord, God, Here, Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord, Come Let Us Worship and Bow Down, Jesus We Enthrone You … etc.)
f) One of the members can then say, “The Lord is here. He is here in his majesty, for wherever two or more are gathered in His name he is there in the midst of them, open up to Him and experience His presence in this place.” — Then lead right in to “Lift Up Your Heads to the Coming King, Majesty, I Exalt Thee, Hallelujah etc.. “.) Following this there should be a time of praise, spontaneous and exuberant from the heart. If the worship team can be very free in worship it will definitely encourage others to voice their praises to God.
g) As the praises die down, initiate a period of silence to wait upon God. Pray in your hearts that there will be a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. After that prayer requests can be offered up for the lost, loved ones, needs of the congregation, missionaries and any special requests. This should be followed by further praise and thanks. The offering could be taken up as a final act of worship in the service.
At the intimate soft song part of a worship set, have one of your artsy youth paint during a song like, The Wonderful Cross. The youth should paint different sins that you face like: lust, lying, stealing, etc. in the shape of a cross. This should be done in the color black. After the cross is finished, the kid should paint a thick red line over the words in the shape of the cross. Then pour water over all of it and smeer it with his or her hand.
This is very powerful and gives a visual so that it involves more than just one of the bodies senses.
It is not too late to give praise for victories won thousands of years ago! In fact, it is when the people of God lose sight of His wonderful works on their behalf that we lapse into idolatry, spiritual adultery, apostasy, lethargy and apathy. We need to rejoice in Christ’s victory over sin and death! “Oh grave where is thy victory? O death where is thy sting. Death is swallowed up in victory! Hallelujah!” Is this the statement of your heart today? It will need to be if you hope to convey this truth to your people.
a) Room Set Up: The room should be in total darkness. (Windows could be covered with large garbage bags if you do not have blinds or curtains that will block out the light. Have an overhead of the crucifixion (Excellent graphics of the life of Christ are available from Dawson McAllisters series on The Life of Christ) up at the front of your room as they enter. (If you don’t have access to an overhead, you may be able to put up a cross, a poster or some way to represent the crucifixion.)
b) After everyone is seated you can announce that you are gathered in honour of the greatest event in all history… “I want to take you back to Calvary. Let us focus today on the victory won for us!” (Then play “The Champion” by Carman).
Sometimes You Have To Get In The Dark To Get Out Of The Dark
Get blindfolds and anoint them as your youth comes in give them one and have them place it on their wrist, don’t tell them what it is or what it is for. When you get started have them go sit in a place away from someone else. After everyone has moved and they are sitting alone tell them to take it off of their wrist and place it around their eyes, make sure they can’t see. Have them to empty their minds and put their mind on God. It has to total quiet. Walk around the room to a few people and tell them things like “I am here”, “I am always with you”, and “You are never alone” after you have done that have the people that you told repeat what you have said. Let everyone know that God is always by their side we just have to take time and listen. Turn on some worship music and let the Lord have His way.
Sometimes in life people think they are to busy to worship God. You need to take time. Make Him your number ONE. When it comes time to worship don’t worry about what is going on around you, or what someone might think of you if you raise your hands. Worship the Lord. The whole purpose of the blindfolds is so that you will put your mind on God and give Him the praise and worship that He so deserves. Sometimes you have to get in the dark to get out of the dark.
May the Lord bless you always.
Some of these ideas may have seemed so structured that they leave very little room for the Holy Spirit to interject. It is my hope that you would not use any idea that you have not already prayed over in His presence. Seek Him for ideas, that will lead the people into a greater awareness of who He is. There are many symbols of the Holy Spirit, dove, water, oil, wind, fire. There are as many facets to His personality; counsellor, advocate, baptizer, guide comforter, source of power. To base a worship time on the Holy Spirit you can highlight any of these symbols or any of these aspects of His personality or function. There are also nine fruit of the Spirit in Galatians and at least nine gifts of the Spirit in I Corinthians. Once again the possibilities are numerous:
a) Place a sign on the door of the room where you meet. “Welcome to the Upper Room. Please come in. Find a spot and begin praying ” (Chairs could be placed around the edges of the room. The lights could be dimmed, or curtains closed. You can have a praise tape playing. I found that some people are apprehensive about entering a room when people are praying, especially if they have arrived late. To avoid this problem, you can have one volunteer to act as an usher to make sure that no one remains outside the door until they think it is alright for them to enter the room.) You should be in the room praying. It helps sometimes if you are praying and praising out loud so that the others will not feel inhibited to do likewise. No one wants to draw attention to their prayers, so the more fervently you pray the more comfortable they will feel to seek the Lord.
b) When I did this I purposely had no set plan and chose to pray that the Lord would guide me. What ended up happening was that about seven members felt comfortable to enter the room. We all sought the Lord together, praying that the Holy Spirit would give us direction about how to reach out to the rest of the members of our group.
c)After praying separately for about fifteen minutes I called the group together and we united in a prayer huddle. Each person prayed about the burden on their heart in turn.
d) We joined hands and worshipped by singing praise songs without any music. The Spirit was leading each person to just sing out a new song and the others joined in.
e) The Holy Spirit came upon the group and everyone was praising God in an unknown tongue except those who were never baptized in the Holy Spirit. Some of the teens who had not spoken in tongues in months or years, began to do so.
f) I then counselled the group to find their own spot to pray again on their own. The room was almost quiet. Some teens were in tears. Some prayed in tongues. Everyone was praying with an unusual intensity.
g) I felt led to pray for those who had not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. One of them did and began speaking in tongues. I also went to pray for the rest of the people in the room. I was helping bear the burden on their hearts.
h) After I had prayed for each person they each were feeling a sense of victory in prayer. We all began praising God. We gathered together in praise, and sang loudly with great joy. We composed ourselves somewhat and opened the door to invite all those waiting at the door to come in for the message. I allowed time for the ones who had been praying to testify to what God had done in their lives, sang a few songs and went into the message.
Pretty simple. We ran out of power to our house sound last Sunday night and had to think on our feet. Our worship leader and lead guitarist (both youth) just grabbed some candles and greatly polished silver trays to put them on. We blacked out everything and lit candles around Paul and Jennifer. The effect was awesome to say the least. There was NO amplification whatsoever. Straight acoustic worship. Taught me a great deal about the simplicity of worship. Just when we youth pastors think we have to have the greatest sound system with the latest color lights, all God really needs is two in His Name. Wow, what a concept.
Our group struggles with making worship too serious. Sounds crazy but they lose sight of the joy of worship. To balance this we did a teaching on joy and celebration…We topped it off by passing kazoos out to all the kids and then attempted to worship with them. Everyone had a good time and it was a needed break from our usual lights off, people crying, times of worhsip.
Try this: After an appropriate teaching time on worship, invite your kids into the sanctuary. Turn the lights down and have your worship leaders lead everyone in a time of singing and prayer: except with there eyes closed or blindfolded. Get the kids to spread out too so they can’t jostle each other around as they do this. Have a scripture reading or two that focuses on the sights and sounds of God’s creation. End in prayer.