This is the first in a series of special posts written by friends of Midnight Oil. These guest bloggers bring unique insights into the interface of image and ministry. We hope you learn from their experiences and find useful applications to your own context.
As I’ve been on the road having conversations with pastors, worship leaders & techies who are all trying to figure out how creativity works in worship, I have had a growing burden to gain a clearer understanding of what true, biblical worship is. I have much to learn and more scripture to dig into than i can comprehend. Here are some of the main things that have stuck with me, and here are some questions I’m asking myself in hopes of finding the answer to “What is Visual Worship?”.
“┬ó Worship is our response to a revelation from God”┬Žspecifically, Who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s yet to do. // So how can visual media/art facilitate a revelation from God (just as text on paper can), and how can we use visual media as a way of leading our response to God?
“┬ó “We breathe in the wonders of God, and we breathe out our response.”┬Ł “ÔÇť paraphrasing Matt Redman // Can we “breathe” in/out using our eyes and what we see?
“┬ó Worship, by nature, is 3-dimentional (picture an X, Y, Z axis): UP (Godward/Intimacy), ACROSS (Communal/Relationships), and OUT (missional/Kingdom)”┬Žall three working in motion & together..never independently. God is everywhere. // How can our visual media support each dimension? Can our screens and walls be windows into the world around us, bringing everything from the wonders of God’s creation to the hurting and oppressed into the church building, where we tend to confine our worship?
“┬ó “┬Ł “╦ťMissions’ exists because worship doesn’t.”┬Ł “ÔÇť John Piper // How does “missions” play a role in the visual content we are choosing?
“┬ó Worship stems from the heart”┬Žit’s not what we do, but how we live. // How are we using visual media/art to connect the dots… that worship is not the songs we sing nor the experience we have during an event, but a lifestyle of authentic relationships, loving others, and adoring God in everything?
“┬ó “Religion (worship) that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit widows and orphans in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”┬Ł “ÔÇť James 1:27 (ESV) // Again, how does this relate to “visual worship”? What priorities do we have when it comes to worshiping ourselves and leading others to worship?
“┬ó “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”┬Ł “ÔÇť Romans 12:1 (ESV) // If we are using this phrase “visual worship”, how does it apply to this passage of scripture?
“┬ó I once heard a friend in Hong Kong say that we can glorify/worship God by what we see, that if we weren’t able to do that, God wouldn’t have created us with eyes. // How can I see Jesus in everyday life? How can I use images and art to help others see Jesus in the midst of singing worship songs and hearing a sermon?
So, with all of this said, what would you say is the definition of “visual worship”┬Ł, and how does it relate to leading your congregation?
Stephen Proctor is a VJ and event producer for Grateful Inconvenience, Inc. <http://gi-inc.org> , based out of Nashville, TN. He blogs his experiences & stories from the road at http://worshipVJ.com