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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wearing the Crime

I talk to a lot of people who are looking for simple worship interactives for their congregations that don’t require a lot of setup or moving around the room because of space constraints and/or room configuration.

Here is an easy idea we did on Good Friday with a cool story thrown in at no extra charge.

I first made a list of “crimes” we are all guilty of to one degree or another. All the crimes were phrased in the first person. For example—to name a few : : :

I hold grudges
I am a liar
I don’t listen to people
I hurt others
I have done a disservice to my family
I am a fake
I am verbally abusive
I am divisive
I hold on to the past

We then printed the crimes on individual stickers and handed them out at the door as people came in. The ushers instructed everyone to hold on to them until they heard what to do.

Once everyone was seated, I explained we all are guilty of any number of crimes against God and others and though the sticker you are holding on to may not be “your” crime, it may be the person’s next to you. Or, you may be denying it. Or, maybe others see it in you but you don’t.

Regardless, we have all witnessed each and every one of those crimes in others and we could probably pick from a handful of other stickers and claim them as our own. We may even be guilty of pushing others to commit the crimes they are guilty of. Acknowledging all of these truths, we peeled the stickers and stuck them to our chests.

During communion, we discussed Jesus’ words on the cross, “It is finished.” At the communion table was a pile of larger stickers that had those three words on them. As we prayed and took communion, we all had the opportunity to take those new stickers and cover our crimes with the words Jesus spoke.

Simple, yet effective—especially in light of everything else that tied in to the evening.

My favorite part however happened on Easter Sunday when I met a woman who was at Westwinds for the second time—her first time being Good Friday.

She explained to me that her and her ex-husband are trying to reconcile with one another. As part of their plan to get back on track, they decided to start attending church together. They both came to Westwinds on Good Friday and were handed the stickers at the door.

They looked at their individual stickers they had been randomly handed and began crying. The crimes they held in their hands were the very monumental things that they recognized destroyed their marriage.

They cried through the whole Good Friday Fusion as they wore their crimes on their chests.

At communion time, they went to the table together and grabbed the “It is Finished” sticker and placed the stickers on one another.

They took the stickers home and hung them on the wall in their home.

I started crying when I heard this story and then I had to jump up and lead worship. One of the best interactive worship special moments I have ever heard.

This is why it is important to try new things in our worship programs, to stir it up, to give people opportunity to interact with one another and God, to engage people, to challenge, to be hands on, to stretch, and then to share these wonderful stories.

What are some of the new things your church is trying in worship services?

This post is also part of Creative Chaos over at Ragamuffin Soul. Check it out!


Lover of Renee said...

Wow! Utterly amazing. Thanks John this one will definitely be used. I am so thankful for you. Blessings!

jimkastkeat said...

great experience and great story.

way to give jackson michigan more than the normal sunday...

Jim Drake said...


Wow! Now doesn't that make all of the "crud" we endure the other 80% of the time worth it all. God knew what those people needed even before you "created" the experience. Just shows me that we truly serve a "Creative" God.