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IDEAS for Experiential Worship
This page contains creative ideas that have been tested in actual worship settings and are desiged to engage people in a more complete encounter with God. The primary aspect of human experience which each addresses is indicated by the following icons:

HeartWorship ideas are designed to engage the volitional aspect of human experience by inviting people to respond to God with specific choices, commitments, and descisions.
SoulWorship ideas are designed to engage the emotional aspect of human experience by evoking meaningful feelings that address the deepest realities of the worshiper.
MindWorship ideas are designed to engage the intellectual aspect of human experience by offering transformational truths that have the power to set people free.
StrengthWorship ideas are designed to engage the physical aspect of human experience by engaging the whole body in concrete acts of worship that carry powerful symbolic meaning.

NEW! Narnia Ideas!
Team Lego Wardrobe Portal: Build a simple door frame about the width of the aisle(s) in your worship space. Hang fuzzy scarves and prickly branches . . .
Runaway Bunnies No Christmas Video: In CS Lewis’ brilliant story, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the White Witch holds the land of Narnia under her spell so that it is always winter but never Christmas. To introduce this idea try using this video . . .
Sailing in the Spirit Screwtape Pantomime: To flesh out the image of the White Witch holding Narnia under her frosty spell and trapping Edmund with her deceptions, use excerpts from CS Lewis’ engaging book The Screwtape Letters. To make this more vivid try . . .
Ice Heart Sculpture Ice Heart Sculpture: To illustrate the powerful image of Aslan’s coming breaking the spell of eternal winter, try placing a large heart-shaped ice sculpture in the front of your worship space and let it melt throughout the service (you can order a plastic mold at . . .
Ice Cube Offering Ice Cube Offering: As an alternative to the ice sculpture idea, try placing large bowls of ice cubes where people can pick up an ice cube and then place the ice cubes in a place where they will melt as a symbol of . . .
Turkish Kisses Turkish Kisses:The White Witch gives Edmund Turkish Delight to ensnare him with her seductive powers. Give worshipers a Hershey’s Kiss as they enter worship with . . .

Team Lego

Painless Tattoos: To kick off a series on becoming servants of Christ . . . during Communion worshipers were invited to come to various “tattoo” stations where people with Sharpies would mark a small black cross . . .

 
 
Dividing Wall
Dividing Wall: For a service based on Ephesians 2:14, we made a “dividing wall of hostility” out of cardboard boxes running down the center aisle of our worship space . . .
 
Passion Mosaic
Passion Mosaic: Pastor Ryan Warne-McGraw of St. Andrew Lutheran in Whittier, California designed a worship series based on the creation of a passion mosaic. The first week of the series they filled large clay flower pots with soil, using their bare hands to . . .  
Repentance Windows
Repentance Windows: During a series on the Prodigal Son we focused one week on the u-turn of repentance. During Communion, following a time of personal confession, we invited people to go to the back of our worship center and . . .
 
Runaway Bunnies
Runaway Bunnies: For a series on the parable of the prodigal son we used the classic children’s story The Runaway Bunny . . .
 
Real Runaway
Real Runaway: To kick off a series on the parable of the Prodigal Son, we asked a member of our church share her testimony about . . .
 
Stripes Cross
Stripes Cross: For a Good Friday service based on the Suffering Servant passage from Isaiah 53:5: “by his stripes we are healed,” we had a large, free standing cross on the center of the platform . . .  
Sailing in the Spirit
Sailing in the Spirit: For a series on allowing the Holy Spirit to activate our spiritual gifts we developed the metaphor of sailing. To give a vivid visual icon for the entire series we set up . . .  
Windy Worship
Windy Worship: In a service that focused on wind as a metaphor for the power of the Spirit, we rented two large industrial fans and set them up on the worship platform. At a certain point near the end of the service we  
Gift Flags
Gift Flags: In a series with sailing at the central metaphor, we were focusing on the unique combination of gifts God has given each individual. Using the idea that each yacht club has its own unique flag, but also displays the flags of all their partner clubs around the world, we had a time during worship when people were invited to . . .  
Thorns to Glory

Thorns to Glory: For Good Friday we created a large thorn of crowns using a simple hoop and twisted grocery bags. We then mounted this on the crux of the main cross in our worship center, which created a moving and stark focus for our Good Friday worship. Then for Easter Sunday we . . .

 
Bread of Life: To help people connect to Jesus as the Bread of Life, we constructed a cross with sides forming a kind of cross-shaped box. Into this we laid four long loaves of French bread. This was a focal point during the service and when the time came for communion . . .  
Play With Clay
Play with Clay: To involve people in the biblical image of God as the potter shaping our lives, give each worshiper a small ball of clay in a Ziplock© bag to hold in their hands throughout the service . . .  
Sign the Shard
Sign the Shard: Invite people to commit themselves to the process of God shaping their lives by coming forward and signing a broken pottery shard during worship . . .  
Potter Interview
Potter Interviews: Help people understand different steps in the process of throwing a pot by videotaping a potter explaing each step and showing the appropriate clip . . .  
Sin Shredder
Sin Shredder: We often look for ways to help people experience the reality of atonement and forgiveness. After we had planned services where people nailed symbols of their sin to the cross in every imaginable way, we came up with this surprisingly meaningful way . . .  
Matrix Pills
Matrix Pills: For a worship gathering in which you are calling people to make a clear decision or step of faith, try showing the scene from “The Matrix” where Morpheus invites Neo to take . . .  
Kitchen Smells
Kitchen Smells: For a series on worship entitled “The Whole Enchilada” we developed the metaphor of cooking with all the necessary ingredients. To reinforce the theme we set up a . . .  
Telephone Game
Telephone Game: To open a service focusing on listening for God’s voice, we printed a funny, nonsensical sentence on cards and passed them out to the people sitting on the end of each row. After reading the sentence they were instructed to . . .  
Alabaster Offering
Alabaster Offering
Alabaster Offering: In a service focused on offering God our personal worship, we concluded the message with the story of the woman who anoints Jesus’ feet with precious ointment from an alabaster jar and an extravagant act of adoration (Luke 7). We had distributed small cards cutout in the shape of an ancient jar and we invited people to write out a prayer of adoration to God while someone . . .  
Team Lego

Team Lego: For a service on teamwork in ministry we emphasized that we cannot fulfill God’s calling by ourselves. To illustrate this we had two Lego bridge building stations. Each had a . . .

 
 
Racing Game
Racing Game: For a service asking the question “Who is in control of your life?” we developed the metaphor of sitting in the driver’s seat vs. sitting in the passenger seat. To kick off the service one of our pastors was sitting on the platform . . .  
Backwards Worship
Backwards Worship: Bill Carroll of Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois, was planning a service on repentance as a change of direction. Before worship they set up all the chairs . . .
 
Relaxed Sermon
Relaxed Sermon: John Walker of First Presbyterian Ottawa, once delivered a sermon on complacency from an overstuffed recliner placed where the pulpit normally stands. . .
 
Created Creators

Created Creators: During a series on the nature of God we focused on God’s infinite creativity. Throughout this service we had a painter on the platform painting a large picture of a creation scene. We also set up . . .

 

 

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Copyright © 2004 Robert P. Rognlien
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