Sun peaks through your window. Beneath the sheets you stretch arms and legs as if knowing that succumbing to the day’s activities is inevitable. One glance at your smartphone and you realize it’s Saturday. Maybe you hop in the shower, grab a quick bite for breakfast, rummage in your closet for a shirt and tie or your favorite pencil skirt and heels before heading out the door. Destination: church. Objective: show up, mingle an appropriate amount of time, situate yourself on your reserved pew, try to engage with praise music, and listen to the thoughtful, well-crafted message before heading home again to determine what you’ll do with the remainder of your day. Ever waited for the sun to set on Sabbath evening and realized a quiet emptiness inside? Maybe the blessing of the Sabbath and the experience of church left you wanting more – left you hoping for the Son of God to captivate and transform and fill you in the just same way the golden morning awoke you from deep slumber.
It’s hard not to fall into a consumer mindset when it comes to church, faith community, and corporate worship on Sabbath. Although young adults (ages 19-35) exist in a culture and society heavily driven by consumerism, this generation possesses a deep yearning to share life within an integrated community void of a kind of compartmentalization that hinders us from seeing our spiritual life as something that interacts with every part of our daily lives.
Each year, camp meeting provides a unique opportunity to gather together in celebration of friendship and community as we experience profound moments which reveal the character of our God with greater clarity. Again this year, young adults from all around the conference met together over the second weekend to network and share community, as well as to experiment beyond the borders our routine worship formats. Seeking to challenge the intentionality and purpose of each aspect and component within the worship format, the theme “Threshold” became a way to articulate what kind of worship environment we desired to craft in order for the presence of the Holy Spirit to captivate, transform, and fill us.
In place of one main speaker, this young adult gathering on Sabbath morning focused beyond merely consuming worship to fully engage, interact, and participate in worship. Three young adults each shared a brief, ten-minute personal experience or perspective followed by several questions which we then broke into small groups to discuss.
For twenty minutes or so, each small group allowed the opportunity for individuals to share intimately and authentically as we identified with parts of the speaker’s perspective and wrestled even more deeply with the topic of “Threshold”: will we cross the line from bondage to freedom, from death to life, from complexity to simplicity?
Following all of this, another young adult led us to cast a vision for our personal and corporate worship experiences beyond our camp meeting gathering. The question posed was, “Maybe church happens all week long, AND on Sabbath?”meaning that perhaps we could identify ways to format our worship experiences on Sabbath mornings to 1) celebrate what we have experienced as active disciples of Christ all throughout the past week, and 2) to empower us for the opportunities God will lay before us in the week ahead? This led our small groups to clasp hands in eager and fervent prayer for a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit to captivate us by His grace, transform us by His power, and fill us with His love both personally as well as a corporate faith community. Rejoicing in the rich blessing of our day together, we closed with worship in music and praise, singing “I need you; oh I need you, every hour I need you. My one defense, my righteousness, oh God how I need you.”
We don’t claim to have it figured out. We don’t propose any kind of formula to replace current worship formats. What we might ask you is this: are you hungry, desperate, yearning for more? More of Christ, more from your Sabbath morning worship experience, more from your church community? It may require you to engage in a deeper conversation personally and/or corporately, but trust us, it will bring you rich rewards.
For more information about young adult ministries in the Minnesota Conference, please contact Anna Romuald or Jeff Wines. Follow us on Twitter @MNyoungadults.
Anna Romuald, Assistant Pastor – Southview SDA Church; Assistant Director for Young Adult Ministries – MN Conference of SDA
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