Imagine going to worship and instead of finding the normal chairs, hymnals and altar, you get blasted in the face with a 90-degree temperature coming from a sanctuary transformed into a desert wilderness complete with sand, rocks, shrubs and heat. Part of the experiential worship series at Westwinds Community Church, Jackson, Mich., Pastor Ron Martoia created an experience that included parts of the historic liturgy—confession, healing, word, sacrament, prayer—and laid it out as a journey for all who entered the doors.
Experiential elements are a growing part of 21st-century worship. Space is opened up for movement and “stations.” The format is that of a journey, with the worshiper as the pilgrim and the liturgy and worship space as the road. Check out Postmodern Pilgrims by Leonard Sweet, Experiential Worship by Bob Rognlien (an ELCA pastor), and Emerging Worship by Dan Kimball.
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