They’re hip, chic, hot, groovy, lit, phat, a phenom, fly, fresh … basically popular. (Choose whatever word fits your generation). You and a few friends get locked in a room that is themed to a particular time or place. You have a limited amount of time to search for clues that will enable you to ‘escape’ and thus giving you bragging rights that you beat the game.
You’ve seen them pop up all over the place. They’ve been written into TV shows. And you’ve seen pics on social media of groups enthralled over their ‘escape’. But, I must be honest, I’ve never gone to one. Maybe I don’t have enough friends that want to be locked in a room with me. Maybe I have too much of an ADHD type of personality. Or maybe I just don’t want to. Who knows? But I know the concept, talked to escapees, and have watched the TV shows that write whole episodes around the concept.
What if we did church worship like an escape room. We bring the people in. During the welcome time, we lock the doors. (As I write this, I wring my hands like a villain from a Dudley Do-Right cartoon. Did I just date myself?)
So … we lock the doors and then the fun begins. They will only get out of church and beat the Methodist to the local eateries if they accomplish a few tasks, decode the clues, and discover something about themselves and their team. What would leadership demand? What tasks? What clues?
Here are some of my thoughts …
- Do Some Tasks – Everybody gets involved. Everybody sings and opens their Bible (or turns on their Bible Ap). Everybody reads during responsive readings. Nobody sits back and plays Candy Crush on their phone. Not everybody will take notes, jot down Tweetable quotes, or underline verses – but everybody will be mentally engaged in their own ways. You might even throw in that everybody has to give during the offering. Imagine being locked in the worship center until everybody opens up their wallets.
- Decode Some Clues – There are a lot of clues and wisdom in our worships. Praise songs that lift exaltation to a great God. Hymns that describe great stories, doctrines, and theology. Scripture that instructs, reproves, corrects, etc. Sermons that unfold the clues, apply the truths, and prompt response. Personal stories that connect to real life. And so much more. As each one examines these clues and these elements of worship, they also examine their own lives. They will connect the truths discovered to their own lives.
- Discover Some Things – after connecting the truths from the clues, they will see where their lives, their relationships, their desires, and their decisions on everything all need to align with the will and wisdom of God’s revelation. They will see how they can encourage each other and lift each other up. They will discover their great brokenness, their great need, and the great healing and wholeness found only the Gospel. And they will discover God’s love is not only for them, but for each person in that locked room.
- Direct Their Lives – Worship is only finished when lives are transformed. The worshipers will direct their lives in the way of our Lord.
Only then will the doors be unlocked and worshippers released into the world … not to brag about how and what they escaped, but to share the joy that God has for the rest of the world that are trapped in their lives, share the discovered truths of God’s great deliverance, and share the hope that they too can ‘escape’ their bondage.
Okay, maybe I took the concept too far. But maybe, just maybe, I might try this one day. If it happened at your worship this weekend, would you get out?