In the last post I mentioned something that happened in one of our worship services that I will never forget. The main reason I won’t forget it is not just because we prayed for her but because many of us got to meet her and encourage her that Sunday. I was later able to visit her in the hospital as she lost her battle with cancer. She was a real person with a real challenge and we stopped everything that Sunday to put it before God as a congregation. That is powerful.
Another aspect of that, that makes it stand out is that something different happened. The Sunday morning routine was upset. It is even a shame that I have to refer to it like that, but that is kind of how it goes…right? I am not being negative when I say this but we have pretty well formalized our worship (and for some pretty decent reasons) sometimes it becomes routine. I would bet some of the things you remember best that happened in a worship service were times the routine got upset. Someone (maybe you!) dropped the communion cups or maybe the lights went out or a song caught on and just kept going over and over and everyone was excited! Those things aren’t planned. Some don’t really mean much at all but other times upsetting the routine is powerful.
So what do we do with that? Sometimes upsetting the routine is unplanned. But we can plan to do this and when we do, it will get people’s attention because you are no longer going through the motions…instead of knowing where the service is going, you are engaged because you are wondering what is going to happen next. It is powerful to highlight different areas of the worship at different times. Have a communion Sunday where you spend more time on it with less sermon time. Or have a Sunday worship where you do more singing or more praying or more scripture reading. Have the worship in another location. Involve different people (the kids, teens, etc).
Upsetting the routine is powerful because it breaks us out of the realm of predictability. Once something becomes predictable we lose interest in it.