Making Worship Work With Metaphors

by The Digital Seed Sower - Date: 2007-03-31 - Word Count: 698 Share This!

I received an interesting email the other day from the "contact us" form on my website. I receive many emails each day regarding free Christian graphics and design subscriptions, but this one really stood out. It simply said:

"I am looking for a message to give to the teens of our church that will give new meaning to Easter".

I thought how cool! Here is a youth Minister/Pastor recognizing that he/she needs to attempt to make their message more culturally relevant for it to really mean something to their youth group. In fact, I felt honored that they would ask me for advice on something like this. I prayed about the request, then did a little brainstorming. I had a pretty cool insight on Mark 16 and responded with this:

I really appreciate your desire to help make Easter more relevant and meaningful for your teen group. If they are like most youth groups, I am sure that they have heard the resurrection story every year at Easter for as long as they have gone to church.

In trying to approach it from a little different angle, as I read Mark 16: 2-7 I am really struck by how God used an anonymous "young person" to be the first to proclaim that Jesus had risen.

"They looked up, saw that the huge stone had been rolled back and walked into the tomb. They saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed all in white. They were completely taken aback, astonished. He said, "Don't be afraid. I know you're looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He's been raised up; he's here no longer.""

In a world where our youth are constantly seeking identity, isn't it cool that God chose someone just like them to first deliver such an important message.

I think that text messaging and Face Book/My Space posts would be really good metaphors for this lesson. They have a level of anonymity, they are current, and they deliver a message. Maybe begin the lesson by having those with cell phones text each other, or open with a discussion on the most important email/Face Book/My Space message they've ever sent or received. Then go into the lesson about a far more important message they can send.

That's was my first idea after reading your email. If it doesn't work for you, let me know and I'll brainstorm it a little more.
If you like this approach, I could do some great graphics for you that would visually help bring the lesson home.

God bless you in your work with your teens,"

Then, the best part of this story happened. The person making the request responded with this:

"This sounds really good. I am a 60 year old woman When the church asked me to help teach Sunday school and help with the teens I was lost as it has been a number of years for me. I pray that God will direct me to people like yourself to get some new ways to bring God's word to life for these kids.
God Bless You,"

How special is that? Regardless of age, official titles, or even being "hip", she recognizes the importance of trying to find new ways to tell the story so that it can be more clearly heard. Jesus is our best example in the use of relevant cultural metaphors. "Consider the lilies of the field", "A sower went out to sow", "Look at the birds of the air". Jesus seemed to always be on the lookout for things that people used or encountered daily that would help make His message more understandable and memorable.

I am going to send this dear lady some free graphics that will help her teen group visually connect with this message on Easter Sunday. I would encourage you to ask yourself; am I following Jesus' example in the delivery of the message? Do I seek ways to use current metaphors to help my listeners more easily relate to and understand the Message?

Our mission at Digital Seed Sower is to help bring a centuries old Message to the world with tools from today. We invite you to join with us in that mission.

The Digital Seed Sower

Related Tags: youth ministry, metaphors, christian graphics, worship backgrounds, christian teens

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