Today we had a shorter service at our local church in order to connect in with the townwide act of remembrance. We took the opportunity to do things differently and connect with the global persecuted church. The idea was to use a whole church all age event to help our church experience the essence of church and a deeper connection with the persecuted church.
We meet in a school and so decided to do a “church unplugged” event which meant no set up.
no sound system
no chairs (ok I we set up 10 chairs for people
no kids work
no bibles (!)
The children had got involved with a craft activity the week before so we were able to put up the following “Wanted Posters.” Some had also brought their Bibles to church in disguise…
We spoke only in whispers and even sang our first song in whispers – to connect with those around the world that dare not speak any louder for fear of being discovered. We also met standing up recognising that some Christians have to meet “on the run” or at least ready to run. It gave the service a very different feel, which allowed us to ask questions about what the essential elements of a church service are.
10.00 SHHH pass it on – Welcome to secret church
I used this story from Open Doors:
“My brother in law became a Christian and he told me about Jesus. At first I didn’t want to know anything about him. But I started reading the Bible and watching Christian programmes on satellite TV. During one of these programmes the pastor asked those watching to give their lives to Jesus. I did and I prayed. Later I saw Jesus in a dream. Jesus looked like a man of the Middle East; black hair and a beard with white clothes.”Regularly Pasha meets with others. “I meet with the others at night, from midnight to two o’clock. We do this because of safety reasons, but also because most of us work during daytime.”
We then asked a Question in groups What is essential for us to meet as church?
Whispering, “when you are in trouble” an song based on Psalm 91
Daniel 3 story – I retold the story of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego applying it to the need to stand strong for God whatever the outcome.
I retold this story:
10.25 Pray in corners of the room for Christians in Sudan, North Korea and Pakistan
I used Open Doors excellent resource “the world watch list” to help inform our prayers.
Blessed be Your Name – it takes on new poignancy when you have just heard stories of persecuted believers.
My Jesus My Saviour – the words “tower of refuge and strength” were important for us this morning.
We then did Communion Afghan style – using just a grape…
Afghan believers often use grapes when taking Communion: biting into the skin of the grape they remember the body of Jesus broken for them; biting into the flesh of the grape they remember the blood of Jesus shed for them.
I’m gonna trust in God – great song to send us out into the week
10.40 closing prayer and blessing and then join in with the rememberance day parade in town: