The Worship Rave…Sort of
Alright the first night of retreat we had big dreams and big plans and apparently big time power drain. If you remember from a few months ago we felt that God was calling us to do something different for the opening night of retreat and the idea that kept coming back into our heads was that of WORSHIP RAVE. It felt right for some reason even though we are a bunch of white guys who used to listen to heavy metal Christian, but now are almost exclusively praise and worship guys.
We didn’t quite take the idea all the way to the RAVE place. We ended up with more like Video driven, glow stick waving, emotional roller coaster worship based on Isaiah 6. One of our big ideas was to not give instructions from the stage. In fact, we did very little from the stage, we let the video screens sort of lead us into a time of worship. Looking back I think it would have been very cool if we had done the exact same thing on Saturday night instead of Friday night. The students would have been a little more ready to worship on their own after a day with God, but still I felt that it was fun.
All in all one thing that I learned from the whole experience is that even if the students didn’t really love the thing it felt like what worship should feel like to me. Let me set the opening scene we were playing David Crowder Band singing Undignified from their live album. We had a dance club like light show complete with fog machines. The music was loud and driving and we were throwing glow sticks and other things into the audience. I was stuck up in the sound booth until we started the first videos and then I was able to get out and dance with the students while images of Christianity flashed on the screen and names of God began to pop up over them. As I was dancing and just letting go of all that I was I felt a worship like I rarely feel when we are trapped in church. Worship should be with all of our bodies. It comes alive when we are allowed to move and to shout and to dance. Let me tell you that I know it looks funny for a 300 pound man to jump up and down and dance, but for some reason when we were there in worship it felt like that was what I was created to do. And I have to tell you that it felt amazing to worship God that way.
The worship time itself was a little hard to explain and impossible to put up here because of how many videos we used from other published sources. I will give you a little bit of an outline.
Students entered to a too well lit room. We had the fluorescents on and no music playing, sort of the opposite of what we normally do. (this was because we were bringing them in from the other side of the gym and it wouldn’t work to “set the mood” so we used it instead of fighting it)
We gave about a minute of nothing to get their anticipation up and then we shut off all the lights.
On the screen came white words on a black background. It said “Purim:” and then gave a textbook definition of this Jewish worship party that for some reason I can’t remember right now. Then it said on a screen by itself “or” then the next screen “Purim: pretty much getting undignified for God”
Right on the last slide the music kicked in and we started dancing to Crowder’s Undignified. The band came out throwing glow stuff and the lights and the smoke machines went crazy.
Right after the song we put up a slide with white text on a black background “LOOK AT GOD” and had the first couple of verses from Isaiah 6 in the middle screen.
This transitioned into a couple of videos: the middle screen was of people dancing in a club like setting and the outside two videos were slides of verses.
These videos moved into a video that asked people to shout out names of God. In reality this didn’t work like we had hopped and I’m not exactly sure why. This name video went into a video that began to flash names of God up on the screen and the recurring name was “Holy”
Right here was when we threw a circuit breaker. Actually to be more accurate we threw the main on the board not any individual breaker.
The cool thing was we had looked in practice and new that these videos were too long, but we didn’t have time to shorten them. The breaker blowing let us play around and scream for a while as the videos continued to play on our battery driven computers. It could have been at a much worse time and actually it may have helped the evening.
These videos kept playing to a big explosion with the word HOLY on all 3 screens.
Two guys with guitars got up and sang “Holy, Holy, Holy,” then. It was a purposeful shift in feel and emotion because we wanted to get more than just the loud aspect of worshiping God in this time and because we really wanted the students to be sort of thrown around by the experience similar to what Isaiah
Right after the song we put up a slide with white text on a black background “LOOK AT YOURSELF” and had the first verses from Isaiah 6 where Isaiah realizes his sin in the middle screen.
This transitioned to videos about our sin. It was a very intense little set of videos with a dying flower in the middle from Highway Video and a list of what the consequences of sin are and a collection of sins rolling across the screen on the outside videos.
These videos led us to a place where we were very aware that we were sinners.
Then the Isaiah verse where the live coal touched Isaiah’s lip came up in the middle and “LOOK AT THE CROSS” came up on the outsides.
We started a video with blackness and just the sound of nails and a groan of pain and then moved into images of the cross.
Over this we had a guided prayer that led students to the foot of the cross to give up their sins. (This was my job and I had to rush the end because I didn’t give myself enough video time)
This lead into some worship time opening with “LOOK AT GOD AGAIN” on the outsides screens.
This worship time started small and built to a crescendo as we left the place.
That seems so simple to explain it doesn’t convey the level of electronic stuff that was going on behind the scenes and how there were 4 people running computers and lighting and sound. It was a crazy place to be, but like I said, even though we didn’t quite get to my original idea of the vision we did worship and in the end that is all that matters.