At Open Space, our offering time was a dance party. We played a section of a music video, usually the Newsboys That's How You Change the World (posted below). People were to dance to the back of the room to the table with the offering plates. Here is what we said before they danced:
We understand offering to be anything we have to give back to God. This includes time, talents, money, prayers, service and worship. You are invited, when the music video starts, to dance to the back table. There you will find offering plates, pens, and slips of paper. We do have to keep toilet paper in the bathrooms and the lights on, so we'll take any change or $50 bills you have hiding in your purse or pocket. However, we understand that everyone has something to give back. Maybe you can write on the paper that you'll bring a canned good for the food pantry next week, that you'll check on an elderly neighbor, or that you'll offer prayers for someone this week. If you are in a place in your life where you are so down you feel like you have nothing to give, you made it here today. You are giving your time and worship to God. Write down "I made it to worship today!" and put that in the plate. Everyone has something to offer God. Now, let's dance!
At each service, as people came in the door, they could pick up a worship leadership card. Each card would give very specific instructions for how to do that job. Imagine being homeless, not having taken a shower for two weeks, and wandering into a church. Imagine that you are handed an offering prayer card and asked to pray during worship. You are reassured that it doesn't matter how well you read. Immediately, you are entrusted with the Holy Things. Right away, you are given the ability to invite a whole room full to people to do what you ask them to do. How often does this happen in the life of a person who is homeless? What do we communicate about the love of God, acceptance, care, dignity, and worth? What do we communicate about what the church values -- rules and performance and excellence, or the Grace of God and Relationships?
As added value, it saves the church office a lot of time in scheduling and rescheduling worship assistants. You can download the cards below and adapt them for your own use.
Find Me All These Places:
This work is licensed by Rev. Jessica A. Harren under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.