Communion by Numbers made for an interesting worship experience. We began by opening envelope #1 at 8:10pm and finished up envelope #9 just before 10am. I enjoyed the service, though I ended up at a table with a guy who was having a sneezing fit and another who was in charge of the conference so there was a lot of stopping and starting and getting up and coming back. Anyway, I recommend it as a "Worship Trick" to continue using Jonny Baker's bad name for his liturgical idea log.
The Q&A Session that ended things on Saturday morning gave two answers that I think are worth noting. The first was around the question, "how do I start something like this?"
Jonny Baker suggests this model: 1. build a team. 2. get some space. 3. eat, drink, and dream together. I add two substeps to #3 - 3a. do the theology and 3b. do it well.
Ed Phillips adds a thought as to our motivations, which I think is very, very important: Don't be defined by desperation. This is probably the best piece of information for any community looking to think outside the box. If you are doing it "to get the young people" who are lacking, STOP, take a breath, and pray. Maybe in the "mixed economy" of God you are being called to reach the group you are reaching - high church politicians, low church farmers, WWII vets, etc. The "young people" that the church started talking about now in their late 40s. The "young people" I represent are in their late 20s and early 30s. The "young people" we all picture are in their late teens and early 20s. Be careful to lump people together in desperation.
The other question, which I promised to anwser here, is around resources. The single best resource available for emerging/alternative worhsip is your community and the imaginations God has blessed them with. To spur that imagination, here are a couple of things to check out. The link above to Jonny's "Worship Tricks" is a good one - it is full of high and low tech "rituals" that help do the work of taking the everyday into the church and replanting God back into everyday life. Another good site is alternativeworship.org. The three book series, Imaging the Word is also worth perusing. Finally, I think it must be mentioned that we are living in a post-literate culture. The word and book has been replaced by the image and link. Don't discount that, as hard as it might be for many of you. It might very well be sad that people don't read like they used to, but complaining abou it and ignoring it won't change the fact that the change has happened. So, utilize images in your teaching and in your worship. Do it in various ways, but don't ignore their power. Flickr.com is a great resource for open/limited source images.
All in all it was a good conference, and I'm glad I went. I met some fine folk and had a few opportunities to worship God in new and exciting ways. If you have questions, drop me a note, and I'll be happy to point you to the right place.