Dottie Escobedo-Frank on shaping creative worship on a budget:
Creative worship is nothing new. It is an old, rich tradition that began with the Israelites carrying around a holy tent with an arc of the covenant, and stone tablets and regular stuff that carried sacred meaning and holy memory. Every time we sing or use instruments in church, we are worshiping God with our creativity. We are making an offering of music, song, or dance. We are offering up the best of ourselves for the God who gave the best for us. David called for the most proficient musicians and the court’s most skilled dancers and the sought-after artisans to create a sacred space for worship so that people could enter into the Presence of God. We humans have been doing creative worship for our Creator God ever since we found our voice and noticed our bodies.
Creative sermons are not new either. Look at the prophet Jeremiah. He used creative methods to get the message across to a people who seemed to be hard of hearing. Jeremiah did things like uncovering a buried linen belt that was mildewed and falling apart, or smashing a clay jar, or wearing an oxen yoke (and those babies must weigh a good bit) just to get across a message. Ezekiel had a creative message when he lay in the dirt and built a battle ground, and was tied up for 430 days.
Rich, deep recesses of creativity. We serve a Creator God, and we are formed as “creatives” in the image of the Creator.
I think about two people here. One is John Wesley who said, “I set myself on fire and they come to see me burn.” He was the pastor who couldn’t fill the pews but found a way to take the gospel to the streets and to the fields and was amazed by the crowds of people who came to hear about God’s love. He found his voice of passion and he found those who would listen, and he moved himself out of his comfort zone into passionate preaching. Look what happened. You are here because of him.
The other is Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act who bemoans that she just wants to “get some butts in the seats.” She saw what wasn’t working, remembered her former skill, and worked out of her abilities to bring a church to meet a Savior she so desperately needed. All for the glory of God, and to save her own butt… Sometimes it works that way.
John Wesley and Whoopi Goldberg both found ways to be so passionate about the gospel that people were compelled to hear and, hopefully, to respond to God’s grace.