Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Conspiracy (Worship Fully)

As a junior high group, we're participating in Advent Conspiracy this year. AC is a grassroots movement that started two years ago with Imago Dei, Ecclesia, and Windsor Crossing. It's quickly spread across the country, and I'm excited to have our students be a small part of what is happening.

To begin the story, chapter one is "Worship Fully." Instead of having our usual time of small group discussions, we came together as a body to remember and focus on the most incredible story in human history: that God entered our world as a human being and offers us a new life in His kingdom.

To kick off Advent Conspiracy, we created a contemplative environment for focusing the students' attention (think candles, low lighting, chill music, etc.), then had some instructions on the big screen for the students to quietly read Matthew 1:1-2:12 on their own, pondering the question "who is the central character in this story?" It was cool to watch the reactions of students as they entered the room, wondering what was going on. It created a thoughtful mood that spread through the room quickly; students who were about the play foosball noticed how quiet it was, grabbed a Bible and read along.

We then looked at the magi and their response to Jesus, how they were paying attention to what God was doing in the world. These guys were so in tune with God that He guided them directly to the baby King. They traveled from another country, giving up their time and energy and resources, risking their very lives by disobeying King Herod, all for the sake of worship. Scripture says that they bowed down and worshiped Jesus. We took a moment to kneel down on our knees, just to experience the posture they took. It's uncomfortable; it requires vulnerability; it's a posture of humility, drawing our attention upwards. I'm convinced the magi didn't begin their worship their in the presence of Jesus, but that it began when they first took action to seek out the baby in Bethlehem.

What if we followed the magi's example, giving our time, our resources, and our gifts to worshiping the King? What if our entire lives were devoted in worship to Jesus?

We then had an extended time of worship, including communion and an offering. It was one of the most powerful moments of worship I've seen in our group thus far. We don't normally have an offering, but we're passing around an Advent Conspiracy Nalgene bottle to raise funds for building fresh water wells in Uganda through FH Global. We already have connections with Uganda, so we're furthering the relationship by involving our students. I was really surprised at how much the students gave this morning (though I also found a stick of gum in the bottle), and I'm excited to see students choosing to give of their resources to helping their neighbors in Uganda.

I wrote more about Advent Conspiracy here, and will continue to update what we're doing for AC as a youth group at The Well blog.

1 comment:

  1. Joel, thanks for stopping by my blog... keep me updated on how AC goes at RMCC. cheers!