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Interactive Session

What happens in Worship?

What kind of God are People led to week-by-week?


Language in Worship

Open Reflection
Reading & Resources

Workshop notes are copyright to Anvil Trust and may not be reproduced without permission
A series of graphic biblical images presents Christians as a worshiping community
that blends lifestyle with liturgy, culture with tradition and form with freedom. Studying
topics that Christians often approach differently; we try to learn from difference,
develop respect and find enrichment in greater understanding.
Unit Objective: To enable Learners to recognise and understand the biblical
presentation and historical development of the Christian church as the community
and people of God in the world, with its teachings and sacraments
Module Objective: To explore, understand and carry out the practice, ordinances
and responsibilities of Christianity, incorporating different forms of worship,
relationship, community and organisation
Learners will:
identify key scriptures relating to the concept of the church
recognise why different Christian traditions have emerged
evaluate different scriptural passages relating to practice
reflect on the significance of their own church ordinances
Learners will acquire a knowledge and understanding of:
biblical images of the church
the implications of the images for contemporary Christians
the emergence and development of different traditions and practices
the areas of agreement and divergence within the Christian community
the relationship of the church to society
Session Learning Goal:
Learners will consider different approaches to liturgy taking account of the
contribution of the many Christian traditions
Session Description:
Life-giving liturgy that blends form with freedom

Workshop notes are copyright to Anvil Trust and may not be reproduced without permission
02.01.06 WORSHIP

Interactive session

What depresses us about the church?

What causes most conflict in the church?
Think about our best and worst experiences of worship
What is worship?

What Happens in Worship?

If worship is all about encountering God, why does it cause so much tension?
When we encounter God we expect to look honestly at ourselves and at God, and in
doing so open ourselves in response to God.

Worship should affect the way we live in the rest of the week. It must affect the way
we view our lives and our world.
All of us bring different needs moods and experiences to worship, which makes it
difficult for those who lead worship to enable everybody to worship in the way they
might think is helpful every week.
Worship needs to connect with where people are. It should fit the context of the
worshippers, and not be alien to their stories. Therefore those who lead worship
should encourage a breadth of worship styles and moods. Effective worship helps to
build community. Think about when we last encountered God in community. What
made the encounter possible?

Worship should:
Help people to centre on God.
To be enabled to give glory to Jesus Christ.
Be fully involved not just observing.
Help people to express themselves in praise of God and to God.
Help people in their understanding of faith.
Give opportunity to confess sin and find forgiveness.
Help and encourage people to grow in their understanding of the person of
Enable them to experience a sense of belonging to the people of God.
Help people to expand their vision of God.
Be given opportunity to offer themselves in service to God.

Workshop notes are copyright to Anvil Trust and may not be reproduced without permission
What kind of God are People led to Week-by-Week?

Think of the over-arching picture you have of God?

Is this a God of grace and mercy?
A God who is slow to anger?

Or is your picture one of an all-powerful God who is judgemental and quick to find

What has helped or hindered your understanding of God?

Think of the language used of God in prayer.

Is an inclusive translation of the Scriptures read in your church?

What kind of hymns and songs are sung? Do they tend to portray God in a particular

Are the lives and stories of women honoured in your church worship?


Story telling is an important part of worship. Worship is all about Gods story and
ours. The story of God is told through the experiences of the people of God and
through their interpretation of these events.

A foundational story is that of the Exodus, which relates the story of the redemption
and liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

Stories shape and transform us. They give us our sense of identity and help us to
look at old events in a new light. Liberation Theologians recognise the power of story
telling as they help congregations made up of oppressed people to interpret Gods
word for their particular context.

We need to reflect on our own stories too, and to know the history and stories of our
own faith traditions.

Language in Worship

The words we sing and use to pray in worship are very important. Many
contemporary songs use I language. Of course I language has its place. But it
should be used sparingly in public worship, which is a corporate or shared
experience. A worship diet made up of individualistic songs tends to privatise the
experience of God. Individualism negates the need for community.

In the Free Church tradition we tend to learn our theology through the songs we sing.
Its important that what we sing is bigger than our own very individualistic experience
of God.

Workshop notes are copyright to Anvil Trust and may not be reproduced without permission
Music and songs have the capacity to work their way deep into our consciousness
and carry their impressions from child hood right into adulthood. Many people who
would not call themselves Christian have a picture or impression of God that has
been with them since Sunday school days. It is very important to give children and
adults a rich and varied worship diet.

Leading worship is all about leading people into a powerful and meaningful encounter
with God who came to share our story in order that we might become part of Gods


1. What principles do you think are most important when a local church considers its
style and pattern of collective worship?

2. In what practical ways should a Christian community of faith ensure there is a

strong link between the everyday life of its members and the worship that they
share together?

Open Reflection

Every local church congregation will regularly include a significant number of people
whose everyday life involves frustration, struggle and pain due to their job or home
circumstances. As someone responsible for helping to develop worship in a local
church what ways would you find to help people truthfully express their deep
emotions and feelings while at the same time pointing them positively, and with
integrity, towards God? Do you think that popular Christian worship adequately
supports the downcast? Give reasons in your reply.

Reading & Resources

Bell, John The Singing Thing: A Case for Congregational Singing pub Wild
Goose Resource Group 2000
Blyth, Myra Celebrating the Trinity: Faith Worship and Mission pub Grove Books
Ltd. 2003
Fischer, Kathleen Women at the Well: Feminist Perspectives on Spiritual
Direction pub SPCK 1989
Frost, Rob Essence pub Kingsway Communications Ltd 2002
Riddell, Mike The Prodigal Project: Journeying into the Emerging Church pub
SPCK 2000
Robertson, Charles (ed) Singing the Faith; Essays by members of The Joint
Liturgical Group on the Use of Hymns in Liturgy pub Canterbury Press 1990
Wren, Brian What Language Shall I Borrow? God Talk in Worship: A Male
Response to Feminist Theology pub SCM 1989

Workshop notes are copyright to Anvil Trust and may not be reproduced without permission