1. Incorporate Scripture in creative ways: turn a passage (such as Isaiah 53) into a dramatic monologue. Weave Psalm texts together in a thematic responsive reading. Share Scriptures on which a worship song is based. Provide reflective texts on screen or in a bulletin for times of silent prayer.
2. Get people out of their seats: allow people to respond with movement. Invite people to write something they are thankful for on a giant blackboard and display it during the month of November. Encourage families to leave the pews and pray together during Communion. Encourage them to hold hands across the aisle in a time of corporate prayer.
3. Let people tell their own stories: solicit testimonies from members of your congregation and share them during services. Many people are afraid of crowds or aren’t great communicators, so record their testimonies, and edit them to help clearly (and concisely) communicate the story.
4. Use humor: sometimes elements (usually videos or dramas) designed to make us laugh feel superfluous. But laughter is a powerful disarmer. Laughter builds community and a sense of belonging. Laughter is serious stuff.
5. Don’t be afraid to take risks: we have performed dramas that showed almost frighteningly intense emotional moments. We always aim to be Sunday-morning appropriate, but have still presented a modern-day version of Hosea and Gomer, a drug-addicted young woman lying to her parents, a struggle with pornography, and a husband who is shocked and angry at his wife’s budding faith. Every time we have performed a “risky” drama, we have been flooded with responses that show how it connected with deeply felt
6. Make room for visual art: we have commissioned members of the congregation to produce paintings used in our stage design. Have artists paint on stage (not on the stage) during worship services. This can be tricky, but exciting and effective.
7. Be willing to do “nothing”: not every service requires a big “wow.” Some of our most exciting times of worship have been a service stripped of all the usual accoutrements. Reveal God and allow people to respond to him. Sometimes that’s all you need.