Editor's Note: What follows isn't really a finished or edited collection of my thoughts. So much as it is me vomiting up a ton of stuff that's on my mind. Here's hoping you can wade through it.
While I was in Chicago at the Arts Conference, someone asked me if, since I was a Middle School Pastor, I got anything out of a conference specifically designed for artists. My response was two-fold: 1) I've been an artist my entire life. Because it's who I am, I think I'm able to learn from it no matter what my job is. And 2) I feel like I actually learn more from the Arts Conference than I do from most of the student ministries conferences that I go to. Let me explain. I feel like, when I go to a student conference, everything I hear goes through only one filter: "how does this apply to my ministry?" Whereas, at the Arts Conference, everything I hear first goes through the filter of "how does this apply to my life?" (I.E. my relationships, my spirituality, etc...) After working itself out there, it moves on to "how does this apply to my ministry?" It has a chance to work itself out more.
One thing that's been going through the filters since Chicago is the idea (concept? practice?) of worship.
For some time now, I've been thinking that I'd like to look into approaching worship in our ministry from a new angle. Right now, all we've got going on is a student worship band, but I feel like that's not enough.
Louie Giglio, in his book The Air I Breathe, says that in each of our hearts, there sits a throne. On that throne sits that thing that we love the most. And everyday, in everything that we do, we declare to those around us what that thing is. That's what worship is. It's declaring outwardly what it is that we love the most inwardly.
So, I'm left with this question: are we doing everything we can to teach our students how to worship God?
If worship is all about expressing your love for God, then are we properly equipping students to do that? I mean beyond teaching them how to live for God. Are we helping them to discover their language of worship? A language that might not involve music at all. A language that they could use to creatively express their heart for God to the world.
We have a mom in our group who is an art teacher at a local school. I began talking with her 2 weeks ago about the posibility of beginning an art ministry with our Middle Schoolers. We could potentially have some students in our group who love to paint, draw, or sculpt. Or maybe we have students who don't even know that they love this stuff yet. Maybe we can help them unlock it? I'd love to have some workshops that would help students learn how to express themselves in writing.
What if music ceased to exist? Could our students still creatively express themselves?
We're in the process of reevaluating a lot of things in our ministry. i'll keep you guys updated on what we're doing with this...