The worship time is radical. I think of it as hardcore worship. Lots of the youth (sometimes almost all) and many of the counselors are down in front of the stage, or in the aisles, dancing and jumping and worshipping God with everything in their being, as David must have been doing when Michal got so angry with him. At times, pretty much everyone is on their face. But God shows up, and it's anything but your traditional worship service. I like some of the old hymns, and I love a well played pipe organ. But this reaches way down into the toes of my soul, so that every last bit of me has to dance, sing, lie quietly, or otherwise worship the one who merely had to speak a word, and stars, planets, rivers, waterfalls, geysers, trees, birds, fish, wooly mammoths, roadrunners, clouds, sunsets, lightning and people sprang into existence. For years youth pastor Bruce Menafee and a team of musicians from various churches led worship; last year he handed it off to Kari Jobe and a band of young people she sings with (Kari was there as youth until a few years ago). The torch has passed to the new generation!
The teaching/preaching times are different as well. You never know for sure what to expect, except that it won't be someone standing in the same place, with polished, orchestrated moves, in a suit. It might be loud, it might be quiet, but it will NOT be boring, nd it will be relevant. Mark, Allen, Richard, Bruce and the others have been working with and ministering to teenagers a long time, and really understand how to talk to them; more importantly, they're unafraid to look goofy or do whatever it takes to reach them. God shows up in some pretty wild ways, and everybody learns a ton of stuff, from the teens to the adults. These guys don't mess around. We're confronted with the real issues that impact our lives, and face the things that are killing us. Sometimes it's pretty crazy, epsecially when Allen Hickman is involved; cow tongues, frozen and live chickens, and exploding TVs come to mind. Wild stuff, but they made their points.
Ministry times seldom look like traditional altar calls. Often the staff is telling people NOT To come down unless they're sure God is dealing with them, or unless they're dead serious. In about a dozen years, I've neverseen a cattle call. Some times just a few respond, sometimes everyone does, but the emphasis is always on being real, on dealing with our hearts and lives, and most emphatically not on what anyone else is doing or will think. Sometimes they just porovide a time of meditation and prayer. Other times the walls are lined with counselors and the youth pick who they want to pray woth them or speak into their lives or just love them. One year Mark had a sword, and everyone who was serious went down and held it as if taking a weapon in oath of fealty.
Never a dull moment. Some loud ones, some quiet ones, but none dull, unless you're just completely oblivoius. And that's the way it should be. God is a lot of things, but one thing He is not is boring!
Copyright 2006 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.
NOTE: The opinions and beliefs, along with everything else, expressed here are those of the author, and may or may not reflect those of Round Rock Chapel, New Breed Network, Del Lago Conference Center, and their attendant staff, members, or anyone else on the planet. Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514