When I was a small child, I had a series of Ladybird books which set out to be gently educational, and had wonderful illustrations by an artist called Tunnicliffe, whom I later discovered to have quite a serious reputation, beyond the world of children’s books.
They covered what to look for at each season of the year, at the seaside, in the country and even, if I remember rightly, in a country church.
I loved all the titles, and would always take them when my father and I set off to explore the countryside (a regular feature of my early years)
Right now, though I’m wishing they’d update the series to include a volume
“What to look for in your first parish”
As I try to prepare for the applications and interviews that lie ahead I’m trying really hard to determine not only what I might be able to bring to a church community, but what I need from a community if I’m to flourish there. I really want to remember the wisdom of the wonderful Claire that it’s very very easy for anyone applying for their first “responsibility post” to be so blown away when they are actually offered a job that they’ll say “Yes” to anything.
Sometimes, of course, this is fine – at others, the match is less happy – so it’s really essential to have your own "bottom lines" clear.
So in a bid to clarify my ideas, I thought a mini series of my own might help…
Nobody who reads here regularly will doubt that creative worship really matters to me. I value doing traditional liturgy as well as possible, but I also need room to dream and look sideways, to re-shape and dream some more. Sometimes, if things are particularly hectic, it’s only when preparing this sort of worship for others that I really manage to engage with God myself.
So, I want to be somewhere where this can happen.
I need to be somewhere where this can happen.
The question is,
Does worship create community or community create worship?
We may be fed by the alternative worship movement and long to engage with people beyond the borders of traditional church, but creative worship takes oceans of time and resources...which is kind of tough if there's only one person doing this. And it seems to me that one hallmark of emerging church is that it is a grass-roots phenomenon...aspiring to be a church without leadership, a community church. So if we're the only ones who get the vision, where does that leave us?
Specifically, where does this leave me, as Hugger Steward, my main alt worship ally in the past 3 years, will be off to uni in the autumn? And what questions should I ask to determine how far a church that claims to be interested in exploring “creative worship” actually wants to go?