Dr. Marcia McFee, a worship consultant well known in United Methodist circles, believes that communal worship is a place of great power. When we worship God together, God's Spirit moves in life-changing ways.
Brighton First's Worship Design Team began its most recent meeting by viewing a video segment where McFee talks about the "worship threshold", that significant moment when a congregation enters worship together. McFee suggests that the threshold should be marked in some way so that worshipers sense the entrance into the sacred.
It has been the tradition at Brighton First to begin worship with the procession of the cross and the light during the first hymn. The choir members join the procession on the weeks they offer music. In our band-led worship, we begin with a gathering time of conversation. The worship director's invitation to join in song with band members marks the threshold.
In discussion following the video, team members brainstormed and planned for new ways to create a threshold into worship that fit with different worship themes. The worship committee considered lighting changes, the use of instruments and choruses, creative prayer, scripture reading and congregational movement. In the coming weeks and months, congregation members will experience subtle and bold worship thresholds that fit with worship themes.
Why did the Worship Design Team give so much effort to just one small segment of worship? The team's work reflects their purpose: to be a "think tank" for creative, excellent worship. They accomplish this through honest, critical review of worship and planning together for upcoming worship experiences.
When the Worship Design Team was established in early 2015, team members described the characteristics of excellent worship at Connecting, Transforming and Transcendent. The worship design goal is to reach excellence, by the grace of God, every time the worshiping community of Brighton First gathers. The team is committed to creating worship experiences that connect worshippers to the sacred and to one another. The team works to design worship that will transform, changing the hearts of those who worship. And while team members understand that transcendence cannot be forced, worship must be a place where the Holy Spirit is welcomed to move in the midst of the people.
Creating an intentional worship threshold is our first step into excellent worship that connects, transforms and transcends.