« bigbulkyanglican | Main | broken table and wounded eucharistic prayer - worship trick 41 »


David Derbyshire

A lot of churches need catalysts to get people to use their gifts in worship otherwise they will be stuck with worship being sing-a-longs and the only way people can contribute being to butt in and say something. Often there needs to be some prior planning and organising that is open for people to take part in to generate ideas so that they can then co-ordinate their preparation. What a refreshing change it would be if this was handed over to visual artists instead of musicians or even to those working with the poor and homeless. Perhaps then worship would be more like going to an art gallery or sitting down for a meal or anything really and not just like listening to concert followed by a lecture? Is that the sort of thing you were talking about Jonny?


I don't know if you caught what we did at GB this year with 'the garden' but we were attempting to deconstruct the boundaries between the worship programme and the visual arts programme. I think that's the interesting territory to be in!

Basically we had an installation open over the weekend and then one evening we presented a live interactive performance within the installation space - everything was decentred, there was nowhere for people to sit - and everyone mingled and circulated around the space whilst visuals, music, readings and enactments happened and changed around them. The phrase we used to describe it was a 'visual poem' because i think like a poem we were trying to hint at things that lie beyond language and thought.

Here is the link to what we did: http://thegardenbrighton.wikispaces.com/possibility2


I've seen the change curve diagram in a marketing workshop I went to. One point they made is that around 1 in 100 innovations will fail! But equally important: every failure is still a step forward, still teaches lessons and is a necessary step on the path to achieving what they set out to do.


'…is there space in our worship and churches for these kind of artists?'

Yes and No.

Artists, creatives and tricksters traverse borders, prefer deserts and caves. They are classic 'center-periphery' characters, nomadic and vibratory. The pursuit of the vague.

If church can be re-conceptualized beyond the obsolete metaphor of the body and constructed more around 'the network', then there is hope— church as assemblage.


the pursuit of the vague - now if vaux was going that would b a title! with the body metaphor it all depends on how you focus on it i think, but yes network and assemblage - i like it.


Good stuff Jonny. Brave to take the more tricky line.

Agree Nic - assemblage is the way forward. But people still need to realise that if creatives are tricksters, then they will not be able to exist at the middle. Don't push them their, or their gift will die.


kester this is a really important point - maybe why i struggle in my life at times!!!


nic can you say a bit more about assemblage or point me to something to read on it?


I'm just reading A New Philosophy of Society - Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity by Manuel de Landa, which I know Nic and John Rag. have read and is very good:


You're right about that struggle too. Very much part of my journey at the moment. But the tension is that the gift dies if it has no orbit too. It's the boundary that's vital - not in the middle, but not off into space either.

David Derbyshire

To come back to your original question ‘What are we afraid of’? Perhaps we are afraid of people in our own groupings complaining about some aspect of what we do? Maybe we fear the grumbling voices of those who don't get our attempts at leading them on in worship? Or perhaps we fear our experiments not leading to engagement in God we expected? To some extent or other I feel what we fear is failure. Isn’t it time to take that risk?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


  • jonny profile pic

    i have been blogging for twenty years in fairly eclectic fashion. i am an advocate for pioneers, lover of all things creative, an explorer of faith in relation to contemporary culture, a photographer and writer. explore the presences section below to find me in other spaces

    about me | profile


  • instagram facebook twitter flickr vimeo links e-mail me


  • pioneer practice

    the latest book is a full colour coffee table type book which is the first published by new venture GETsidetracked - pioneer practice

    jonny baker book covers

    follow this link to other books, chapters, articles and music i have published.

worship tricks

  • series 1series 2series 3series 4


  • typepad monthly archivesmy first blog