I was having a conversation over a year ago with our media director about how we use bumper videos. These videos are short 20-30 sec. videos that transition into the message each week in our services. We were discussing the purpose, usage, and over all value of the element and the conversation lead to a massive breakthrough in our understanding of what God was actually using this element for each week. (I’ve posted an example of a bumper video from our Christmas Series this past year above.)
The journey actually started a few years back when I read a worship blog about the order of services. The author defined worship as our response to the revelation of God; a definition I’ve heard used very often and agree with completely. The author then went on to suggest that services are typically set up in reverse. We sing (respond) first, then hear the message (revelation). I agreed, that did seem to be in reverse, and we actually tried to flip our services a couple of times, but something just never flowed correctly for us. Things always felt a little out of sorts. I thought maybe it was just that we were so accustomed to the typical way of doing things or that our culture was just too ingrained to make a change like this. Even though these attempts failed, the thought of worship as revelation and response and how that related to our worship together as the church was something that I continually revisited.
Shortly after that conversation with our media director, I taught a class on worship here at Northstar. We discussed our worship together as the church, but mostly that worship is a lifestyle that we live out every day of our lives. We were really digging into Romans 12:1-2 when the purpose of the bumper video settled on my heart.
If we believe that worship is truly the whole of our lives, then we need to think about more than just the structure of our 1-hour weekend services. We really need to consider what our hour together each week actually perpetuates in our lives. I really believe that the bumper video for our congregation is the beginning of the week. Each week we hear the Word of God revealed, and then instead of responding through singing, we leave as the church to go out and live our response. We respond by the change we make in our lives to reflect God more because of what we’ve seen and learned of him. We have experienced revelation and now we go live our response. Then when we come back together as the church the next weekend, we don’t come to respond, we come responding. We don’t come to worship, we come worshipping. We come to respond to God for his goodness, grace, and mercy that we have experienced as we have sought to live out the revelation from the prior week’s service.
We gather as the church and share stories of the truth of God coming to fruition in our lives during the week. We come together and our hearts aren’t responding just from 20 min. of informational revelation, but from 7 days of revealed truth manifesting itself in our lives. And we sing our guts out together for the first 30 min. of the service.
Then comes the bumper video. It’s that 20-30 sec. when the lights go out and a short video plays, and the church collectively takes a breath, ready to have the Word of God wash over us in revelation once again as one and prime us to live a lifestyle of worship in response to the truth. It is the crux of our week. It is the restart of the process of revelation and response for us collectively as the church.
Worship is in fact response to revelation, but if we believe worship is a lifestyle, then the process of revelation and response for the church must transcend our 1-hour weekend service and be woven into the fabric of our lives together as the Kingdom of God.