“Risk-Taking refers to the service we offer that stretches us out of our comfort zone and has us engaging people and offering ourselves to ministries that we would never have done if not for our desire to follow Christ. Risk-taking steps into great uncertainty, a higher possibility of discomfort, resistance, or sacrifice. It pushes us beyond the circle of relationships that routinely define our church commitments”
-Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
This past weekend, as well as two weeks ago, I attended the CTC MidWinter Near and Far Retreats. Both retreats were great successes and were the products of lots of hard work from Joy, SLT, youth leaders, and other adults. This morning, one of my dearest friends on SLT lead a devotional before breakfast. She talked about getting out of your comfort zone to help other people. Thinking about this throughout the day, I connected it to some of the things that were happening in our worship services during the weekend.
At Midwinter 1, a prayer of confession was read aloud by five SLT. It was really interesting, because we used a traditional litany with mixed in, more modern and relatable connections. It was so interesting (and I suppose entertaining), in fact, that it was followed by an awkward slow-clap that induce a round of applause…for a prayer. I, pesonally, was not very upset over it, because lots of kids probably were confused about how they were supposed to react or possibly they just liked it and wanted to convey that. (In other words, I didn’t want to be mad at the campers and I figure that things like that just happen sometimes.) However, many of us were frustrated that a message seemed to be lost.
(Ethan posted a moving blog about this incident that I think you should read, because it gives a better insight than my description)
This MidWinter, I was one of the readers, and it was indeed a little disheartening to read words that you feel deep within you and that make you feel terrible and then people are peppy and whooping (there was actual whooping!) at the end. However, then I noticed that the same people that seemed to be goofing around and making a mockery of what we were trying to say were the same ones that caught on fire when the band started to play. They were the ones whose eyes lit up with passion for the Lord. And the people that were disgusted by the obnoxious clapping were the ones who looked uncomfortable during the music, or during the lively parts of the speaker’s message. Even people that I knew well that are outgoing [and maybe a little crazy :)] felt awkward when craziness found its way into the chapel.
It’s disappoitning to me that people feel ut of place in worship. When we come together to glorify God, that is the time when we should feel the most at home, I think. The focus is not on your dignity. It is not on your need for attention. We didn’t wake up early and get all dressed up every Sunday of our lives so that we could worry about ourselves. It’s for God.
When you leave your bubble that contains everything your parents, teachers, youth leaders, pastors, mentors, and friends have gotten you to grow accustomed to, you are growing. At first you will be uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s scary to do things differently. And if we can accept taking risks for other people, why can’t we take a risk that helps us grow ourselves? Why not have Risktaking Worship?
If you a non-singer-dancing-Amen-Hallelujah-er, then you might think that childish worship techniques like these are not for you. But guess what. It’s all for you. Worship in general is for you to glorify God in every way you can. Sometimes you might feel ridiculous or silly or childish or dumb, but you aren’t. You can’t worry about how people see you or what they think when they see you, all you can do is let love take over and let yourself go. So why not throw up a “Hallelulujah!” sometime? Why not sing and dance and become undignified? The way I see it, if you can’t party for the Lord, be joyful and passionate and loud (and occasionally a little awkward or obnoxious), then there’s nothing you can be joyful and partyful for.
If you are a clapper, put yourself into silence, embrace the quiet, bedcause it will help you grow. Spending tie in dignified prayer, reading or discussion brings a new light on things for you. I understand any hesitation you would have to say, join a Bible study. A small group of people in a quiet flourescently lit room just talking in quiet voices about quiet topics…quietly. But if you never expand your horizons in that directions, you’ll never know what you would be mussing. They are people that could’ve helped you grow that you will never meet. There are thoughts that would’ve never came to you. And you might realize important things in your faith. So why not try to be different than you are usually? Why be “typical”? Come out of your comfort zone. That’s right, even awkward, outgoing, out there,crazy, loud, boisterous, upbeat, peppy, happy-go-lucky people, like yourself have comfort zones whether you knew it or not.
We should participate in everything, even the parts that aren’t quite what we’re used to, whether those parts are loud, quiet, serious, silly, long, short, sitting down, standing up, spinning in circles, hugging eachother, running around, or even being completely silent for longer than you usually are. I think this because it makes us uncomfortable, and it makes of take risks.